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MEN'S HOCKEY: Walsh, Bemidji State earn 2-2 tie with UND

Bemidji State's Mitch Cain (27) and North Dakota's Derek Rodwell collide as they chase a loose puck in WCHA hockey action Saturday night in Grand Forks, N.D. John Stennes | Forum News Service1 / 2
Bemidji State’s Brance Orban (7) battles North Dakota’s Rocco Grimaldi for the puck Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena. John Stennes | Forum News Service2 / 2

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Bemidji State hadn’t defeated North Dakota here since Feb. 7, 1970 – and never at UND’s shiny new Ralph Engelstad Arena. And the Beavers hadn’t managed so much as a tie since Jan. 28, 2005.

Although the Beavers wanted the former, they’ll happily settle for the latter.

BSU weathered a late North Dakota storm and settled for a 2-2 tie in front of 12,711 at The Ralph. It was the final regular-season Western Collegiate Hockey Association series between the two teams.

Andrew Walsh made 28 saves to keep the Beavers in the game. UND outshot BSU 30-18 and had twice as many scoring chances.

With the tie and Michigan Tech’s 5-1 win over St. Cloud State, the Beavers (6-18-8, 5-14-7 WCHA) slipped to 11th place in the league standings with 17 points. Tech is alone in 10th with 19 points while Alaska-Anchorage is locked into finishing 12th in the standings with just 10 points.

UND, meanwhile, is now 18-9-7 overall and 13-6-7 in the league. With the tie, it slips to third place with 32 points. Minnesota’s 5-1 win over Denver gives them 33 points, while St. Cloud State remained in first place with 35 points.

That sets up an interesting final regular-season weekend. With the McNaughton Cup still up for grabs, Bemidji State hosts Minnesota at the Sanford Center with a chance to play spoiler.

On Saturday night, Phil Brewer gave the Beavers the early lead just 3 minutes, 23 seconds into play, sniping a goal from the slot following a pretty backhand dish from Markus Gerbrandt to beat UND goaltender Zane Gothberg.

The Beavers outshot UND 6-5 in the opening frame despite North Dakota getting nearly 30 shot attempts to BSU’s five.

The Beavers couldn’t sustain their lead in the second frame despite getting a power play that straddled the first and second periods.

BSU had 1:43 of power-play time to start the second, but only got two shots off.

UND killed the penalty and Mitch MacMillan tallied the equalizer at the 4:10 mark of the second, scoring a goal from the left circle. The puck beat Walsh’s outstretched glove and appeared to deflect in the net off the crossbar.

Danny Mattson helped the Beavers regain the lead at 12:27.

With the Beavers pressuring in the UND zone, Sam Rendle came off the bench just in the nick of time to save the puck from clearing the blue line.

He casually shot it back in toward the direction of the goal, and Mattson was in the right place at the right time to get the redirect and beat Gothberg.

In the third period, UND had numerous chances to even the score.

North Dakota had a golden chance when Brewer was called for a holding the stick penalty at 4:42.

UND defenseman Dillon Simpson nearly scored the equalizer a minute into the power play, winding up for a slap shot that had Walsh beat but dinged off the post.

The Beavers killed that penalty, but a slashing call on Jordan George just a minute after UND’s power play ended proved costly.

UND defenseman Jordan Schmaltz scored 24 seconds into the power play to even the score at 2-2 at the 8:37 mark.

The home team nearly scored again with just over 7 minutes to go in the game.

UND winger Drake Caggiula swatted an airborne puck past Walsh but officials immediately waved the goal off, the result of an obvious high stick.

In the final five minutes of regulation UND sent everything they had at the net, registering 10 shots on goal. But Walsh denied each of them to send the game to overtime.

BSU senior forward Ben Kinne had a chance to end it just before regulation, getting a superb chance on breakaway, but Gothberg stoned him to keep the game tied.

UND outshot BSU 14-6 in the third period and 2-1 in the overtime frame.

Bemidji State 1 1 0 0 – 2

North Dakota 0 1 1 0 – 0

First Period – 1, BSU, Brewer (Gerbrandt, Cain), 3:23. Penalties – UND, Knight (Hooking), 19:42.

Second Period – 2, UND, Mitch MacMillan (Gaarder, Gleason), 4:10; 3, BSU, Mattson (Rendle, Ward), 12:27. Penalties – BSU, Carlson (Holding), 5:46.

Third Period – 4, UND, Schmaltz (Rowney, Grimaldi), 8:37, PP. Penalties – BSU, Brewer (Holding The Stick), 4:42; BSU, George (Slashing), 8:13.

Shots On Goal – BSU (6-5-6-1-18); UND (5-9-14-2-30).

Goalies – BSU, Walsh (30-28); UND, Gothberg (18-16).

Penalties-Minutes – BSU, 3-6; UND, 1-2.

Power Plays – BSU, 0-for-1; UND, 1-for-3.

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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