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Perfect timing: Rendle's first goal of season carries Bemidji State past Alaska Anchorage

Bemidji State defenseman Matt Prapavessis and goaltender Mathieu Dugas track the puck after an Alaska-Anchorage shot in the first period of Saturday’s game. BSU Photo Services 1 / 2
Bemidji State’s Mitch Cain beats Matt Bailey of Alaska-Anchorage to a loose puck at center ice in the second period of Saturday’s game at the Sanford Center. BSU photo services2 / 2

BEMIDJI – Sam Rendle’s first goal of the season came at the perfect time for Bemidji State.

The junior from Grand Rapids scored a 4-on-4 goal with 2:29 left – just minutes after Alaska Anchorage had tied the game at 4-all to rally from a 4-1 deficit – to left the Beavers over the Seawolves 5-4 Saturday night.

"It was exciting," Rendle said. "It was nice to get that monkey off our team's back. Something had to happen, we just weren't catching any bounces."

Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore was relieved to finally get a win after the Beavers (3-5-2, 2-4-2 WCHA) after a five-game winless streak.

“I’m glad we won the way we did, but that was a crazy game, no doubt about that,” Serratore said. “We started off well, but they chipped away. As the game went on they gained more and more momentum.”

Rendle, a defenseman, picked the pocket of a UAA defender on the 4-on-4 late in the third period, then passed to Jordan George. Rendle said George did the rest.

"I picked it off, gave it to the best player on our team, George. You know he can make plays," Rendle said. "I was just driving to the net, not really knowing what do do up there being a defenseman, but just going where all the forwards seem to go.

"Then Georgie threaded the needle through the guy's legs and I just kinda put my stick out there and was fortunate for it to go into the back of the net."

It was a big sigh of relief for BSU, which had just seen the 4-2 lead it had at the start of the third period slip away thanks to a pair of power play goals by the Seawolves.

BSU defenseman Jake Areshenko was called for two costly penalties in the final frame, and the Seawolves scored on both of them.

Areshenko was whistled for holding just 15 seconds into the period and Anchorage’s Alex Gellart took advantage, cutting BSU’s lead to 4-3 at the 2:04 mark.

Much later in the period, Areshenkos’s penalty proved even more costly. He was whistled for checking from behind – a five-minute-major penalty that saw him sent off the ice with six minutes to go in the game.

Brad Robbins went to the box for him, and the Seawolves took advantage. Scott Allen beat BSU goaltender Mathieu Dugas, tallying his second goal of the game and evening the score at 4-4 with just over four minutes left.

The 3,305 fans at the Sanford Center went dead silent. But the Beavers got a break seconds later when Allen – who may have otherwise been the hero for UAA – was called for a hold.

That meant 4-on-4 hockey. And Rendle broke the tie, with help from George.

“We let them back in it,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “Penalties caused that, but at the end of the day a win’s a win and I’m proud of our guys.”

Aaron McLeod added two early first period goals for his team-leading fourth and fifth tallies, respectively, while Brance Orban and Cory Ward also scored for the Beavers in the games’ second period.

Allen scored UAA’s first goal, just 59 seconds into the second period, and Dereck Docken scored the other goal at the 12:17 mark of the second.

The Seawolves (2-4-4, 0-3-3 WCHA) outshot the Beavers 27-23, including 8-3 in the final period.

Dugas made 23 saves for the Beavers to get his first win of the season. UAA goalie Rob Gunderson took the loss for UAA, making 18 saves.

Alaska Anchorage 1 1 2 – 4

Bemidji State 2 2 1 – 5

First Period – 1, BSU, Aaron McLeod 1 (Danny Mattson, Radoslav Illo, PP), 0:59; 2, BSU, Aaron McLeod (Danny Mattson, Jake Areshenko), 2:33. Penalties – UAA, Matt Bailey (Slashing), 0:45; UAA, Andrew Pettit (Too Many Men), 8:59.

Second Period – 3, UAA, Scott Allen 1 (Unassisted), 0:59; 4, BSU, Cory Ward (Radoslav Illo), 1:35; 5, BSU, Brance Orban (Danny Mattson, Graeme McCormack), 4:13; 6, UAA, Derek Docken (Scott Allen, Blake Tatchell), 12:17. Penalties – BSU, Markus Gerbrandt (Hooking), 15:44.

Third Period – 7, UAA, Alex Gellart (Andrew Pettit, Matt Bailey), 2:04; 8, UAA, Scott Allen 2 (Quinn Sproule, Blake Tatchell), 15:40; 9, BSU, Same Rendle (Jordan George), 17:31. Penalties – BSU, Jake Areshenko (Holding), 0:15; UAA, Alex Gellart (Hooking), 8:56; BSU, Jake Areshenko (Checking From Behind), 13:55; BSU, Jake Areshenko (Game Misconduct), 13:55 UAA, Scott Allen (Holding), 16:53.

Shots On Goal – UAA (11-8-827); BSU (11-9-323).

UAA, Rob Gunderson (23-18); BSU; Mathieu Dugas (27-23).

Power Plays – UAA 2-for-4. BSU – 1-for-3.

Penalties-Minutes – UAA 4-8; BSU 4-19.

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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