MINNEAPOLIS - The Bemidji State men's hockey team cruised into Minneapolis this weekend on a three-game winning streak and one of the hottest teams in the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference.
After No. 7-ranked Minnesota defeated BSU 3-0 in a one-sided game Friday night in front of 9,975 fans at Mariucci Arena, the Beavers walked out of the locker room frustrated and determined to play a better game Saturday night.
"We're disappointed in ourselves and our effort, but we're proud people and for sure we're going to come back hard tomorrow." said BSU goalie Dan Bakala, who had 33 saves.
Zach Budish scored twice for the WCHA-leading Gophers and Kent Patterson had 13 saves for his seventh shutout this season.
The shutout was Bemidji State's first in 22 consecutive games dating back to the 1-0 road loss to Minnesota-Duluth back on Oct. 29. The 13 BSU shots on goal marked the fewest this season and the fewest since Dec. 12, 2009 loss to Minnesota State.
"They (Minnesota) played possessed tonight," BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. "Give Minnesota all the credit. To me they were a national championship caliber team tonight and that's how good they are. We just could never get it going."
Bemidji State (15-13-3, 9-11-3 WCHA) and Minnesota (20-11-1, 16-7-0 WCHA) wrap up the weekend series Saturday at 7:07 p.m. at Mariucci Arena.
"It wasn't our night," BSU alternate captain Brad Hunt said. "It's all about tomorrow now. We just have to be focused and determined. When we get back to the hotel we have to look in the mirror because we all have got more to give. We have to leave nothing in the tank tomorrow night after that game."
Budish scored his two goals in the first period. He scored 60 seconds in by tipping Mark Alt's slap shot in front of the net and buried the second midway through the period by putting back a rebound on Nick Bjugstad's drive to the net.
It was a dominating first-period display by Minnesota, which outshot the Beavers 14-2 through the first 20 minutes.
BSU did not have a shot on goal until 12:35 in and BSU's second shot, a tip by Darcy Findlay to end a rush, was blocked by Patterson.
Minnesota remained in control in the second period by avoiding turnovers and playing physical along the boards. It was a key to the win in the mind of Minnesota head coach Don Lucia.
"After watching how they (BSU) scored some goals against CC (Colorado College) last weekend, we wanted to make sure that they didn't beat us up the rink tonight," Lucia said.
Bjugstad made it 3-0 Minnesota seven minutes into the second period on the power play when he took Kyle Rau's pass at the far side of the net and chipped it through Bakala.
Bemidji State was outshot 27-9 through two periods and struggled to break through Minnesota's blue line the entire night.
"They did a great job just making the ice a lot smaller than it was and it seemed like they had eight guys on the ice," Hunt said. "That's what we want to be like and we didn't get that done tonight. Tomorrow night we have to find a way to penetrate that."
BSU 0 0 0 - 0
UM 2 1 0 - 3
First period - 1, UM Budish 9 (Alt, Rau), 1:00. 2, UM Budish 10 (Bjugstad, Marshall), 9:13.
Second period - 3, UM Bjugstad 22 (Rau, Haula), 7:00, (pp).
Third period - No scoring.
Shots on goal - BSU, 2-7-4-13. UM, 14-13-9-36.
Goalies - BSU, Bakala (36-33). UM, Patterson (13-13).
Power plays - BSU, 0-for-0. UM, 1-for-4.