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Bemidji State’s Radoslav Illo (18) takes his time to find the perfect feed on the power play during the second period of BSU's game against Lake Superior State on Friday night. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

MEN’S HOCKEY: Third period sinks BSU against Lake State

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BEMIDJI -- A backbreaking set of third-period penalties turned what had been a solid night of penalty killing for Bemidji State into a nightmare.

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Lake Superior State scored two power play goals in the final frame then killed off a late 5-minute major game misconduct penalty and 5-on-3; holding on to beat Bemidji State 3-2 in front of 3,130 fans Friday night in their Western Collegiate Hockey Association game at the Sanford Center.

“It was a situation where again we have a lead going into the third period and we didn’t find a way to get it done,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said, referring to BSU’s 4-4 tie against Alaska-Anchorage last Saturday -- one in which the Beavers also had a lead going into the third period. “Bottom line is, you have that lead you have to finish people off, and we just didn’t.”

The Beavers (4-7-2, 4-4-1 WCHA) had a 2-1 lead Friday night thanks to a power play goal from Cory Ward and a shorthanded goal from Matt Prapavessis in the middle frame, but two consecutive BSU penalties early in the third period gave the Lakers (7-3-1, 3-2-0 WCHA) the lead.

James Hansen went to the box for hooking 2:27 into the third, then Graeme McCormack joined him little more than a minute later, giving the Lakers a 5-on-3 power play for nearly a minute.

The Lakers wasted little time capitalizing on both penalties.

Twenty seconds after McCormack’s penalty Stephen Perfetto beat BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh with a shot from the point to tie the game at 2-2.

Colin Campbell gave the Lakers the lead a minute later, beating Walsh from the left dot to complete the comeback.

“The penalties killed us,” Prapavesiss said. “We just have to put a compete 60 together. We were good in a lot of spots, but a couple breakdowns, one after another.

“Giving them a long 5-on-3 with a lot of time there, you just can’t do that in the third period with a lead.”

But the Lakers’ Ian Miller nearly gave the Beavers a reprieve.

The freshman was called for a five-minute major and game misconduct penalty for elbowing with 5:40 left in regulation.

The refs then whistled Campbell for checking from behind soon after. That would have given the Beavers a long 5-on-3 for two minutes, but with 23 seconds left on the two-man advantage Jeff Jubinville was called for hooking on a faceoff to the right of LSSU goalie Kevin Kapalka.

Although the Beavers still had time left with a 4-on-3 power play, that seemed to derail all the momentum they had during the previous minute and a half.

“They did a great job killing it,” Serratore said. “They had two guys high and made it hard for us to get penetration and shots. We tried but that stick infraction really hurt us. Things just got a little haywire there near the end.”

“Taking that penalty, you know they were going to give us one after that 5-minute major… any little infraction they were going to call,” Prapavessis added. “It’s kind of a bummer to take that penalty when we’re up two guys.

“You have to show more discipline but it’s tough. off a faceoff like that, everybody’s fighting for position so sometimes you can’t help it.”

The Beavers had another 5-on-3 in the second period and scored on it when Cory Ward redirected Ruslan Pedan’s slapshot from the point just 32 seconds into the middle frame.

But officials reviewed the goal and ruled that the first of the two penalties ended just before the puck crossed the goal line. That meant instead of getting another near-minute of power-play time to try and add another goal the teams went back to even strength.

Prapavessis added his first goal of the season later in the period, a shorthanded goal from the slot set up perfectly by Mitch Cain, who stripped a Laker defender and passed it to Prapavessis, who buried it top shelf to beat goaltender Kevin Kapalka.

Lake State’s Alex Globke scored in the first period, corralling a rebound from Campbell and sneak the puck through Walsh’s five-hole.

“Bottom line is, they had two special teams goals, we had two special teams goals and they got us 5-on-5,” Serratore said. “It was a tight game. We made a few mistakes in the third period and they capitalized on it. They earned it.”

BSU outshot LSSU 32-26 and Walsh finished the night with 23 saves; Kapalka had 30 for the Lakers.

The teams return to action at 7:07 p.m. tonight for the series finale.

Lake Superior St. 3, Bemidji St. 2

LSSU     1    0    2 -- 3

BSU      0    2    0 -- 2

First Period -- 1, LSSU, Globke (Campbell, Perrault), 9:25. Penalties -- LSSU, Schmitt (Tripping), 18:30; LSSU, Drapluk (Interference), 19:10.

Second Period -- 2, BSU, Ward (Pedan, Mattson), 0:32, PP; 3, BSU, Prapavessis (Cain), 11:30, SH. Penalties -- BSU, Illo (Tripping), 10:42; LSSU, Czuczman (Elbowing), 17:23.

Third Period -- 4, LSSU, Perfetto (Campbell, Sternberg), 3:57, PP; 5, LSSU, Campbell (Globke, Perfetto), 4:54, PP. Penalties -- BSU, Hansen (Hooking), 2:27; BSU, McCormack (Tripping), 3:36; LSSU, Miller (5-Elbowing), 14:20; LSSU, Miller (Game Misconduct), 14:20; LSSU, Campbell (Checking From Behind), 15:18; BSU, Jubinville (Hooking), 16:55.

Shots on goal: LSSU – 8-11-7—26; BSU – 13-13-6—32; Goaltenders (shots-saves): LSSU – Kapalka (32-30); BSU — Walsh (26-23). Penalties-Minutes: LSSU – 6-23; BSU — 4-8. Power Play goals, opportunities: LSSU – 2-for-3; BSU — 1-for-5. Three stars: 1-Prapavessis, BSU; 2-Campbell, LSSU; 3-Mattson, BSU.

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Jack Hittinger
Jack Hittinger is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on Bemidji State but also covering area high schools. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
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