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Bemidji State center Cory Ward (13) tangles with Michigan Tech’s Daniel Sova in front of the Tech bench during Friday night’s game in Houghton, Mich. Ward scored both BSU goals as the teams skated to a 2-2 tie. Davd Archambeau | Daily Mining Gazette

MEN'S HOCKEY: Ward's two goals lifts Bemidji State to 2-2 tie with Michigan Tech

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HOUGHTON, Mich. — Cory Ward scored twice, Jesse Wilkins made 36 saves in his collegiate debut and Bemidji State skated to a 2-2 tie with Michigan Tech in their Western Collegiate Hockey Association series opener Friday night at MacInnes Ice Arena.

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It was the fourth time in the last five meetings that the teams went to overtime, and the Beavers (5-8-4, 5-4-2 WCHA) were looking to snap a five-game winless streak against the Huskies (6-8-3, 4-3-2 WCHA). Instead BSU had to settle for the tie after Tech scored two goals in a span of 50 seconds in the third period.

The Beavers led 1-0 after two periods thanks to Ward’s power-play goal midway through the second period, but Tech struck back.

Just 2 minutes, 18 seconds into the third the Huskies’ Daniel Holberg beat Wilkins for his first goal of the season to tie it 1-1.

CJ Eick scored at 2:55 to give Tech its first lead.

Ward struck back minutes later.

The sophomore center from Las Vegas picked up a wayward puck following a Michigan Tech shot and skated the length of the ice. He eventually beat Tech netminder Pheonix Copley with an unassisted breakaway goal to tie the game at the 6:12 mark.

Ward now leads Bemidji State with 11 goals on the season.

Neither the Beavers nor the Huskies scored again in the third.

BSU took six penalties in the game but was a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

The Huskies outshot the Beavers 38-21 but Wilkins, a freshman from Calgary, Alberta, didn’t show any nerves in his first career collegiate start. He made 36 saves. Copley made 19 for Tech.

The teams return to the rink tonight for the series finale at 6:07 p.m.

Bemidji State 2, Michigan Tech 2, OT BSU 0 1 1 0 — 2

Tech 0 0 2 0 — 2

First Period — No Scoring. Penalties — BSU, Ward (Hooking), 0:13; BSU, Marinaccio (Tripping), 4:52; Tech, Holmberg (Interference), 6:17; BSU, Gerbrandt (Hooking), 13:04; BSU, Struthers (Roughing), 16:27.

Second Period — 1, BSU, Ward 1 (Marinaccio, Harms), 11:34, PP. Penalties — Tech, Strous (Elbowing), 5:28; Tech, Sova (Roughing), 10:57; BSU, Windle (Holding), 19:16.

Third Period — 2, Tech, Holberg (Baltus, Hietala), 2:18; 3, Tech, Eick (Neville, Stebner), 2:55; 4, BSU, Ward 2 (Unassisted), 6:12. Penalties — BSU, Pedan (Kneeing), 9:24.

Overtime — No Scoring. Penalties — None.

Shots on goal: BSU — 5-9-5-2—21; Tech — 14-10-9-5—38. Goalies (shots-saves): BSU — Wilkins (38-36); Tech — Copley (21-19). Penalties-Minutes — BSU 6-12; Tech 3-6. Power play goals, opportunities: BSU — 1-for-3; Tech — 0-for-6.

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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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