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Men's hockey: Beavers, UND skate to 1-1 draw

BSU’s Danny Mattson battled UND’s Wade Murphy for possession during Friday’s game. The teams skated to a 1-1 tie. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — It’s hard to say exactly which of Andrew Walsh’s 42 saves meant most to the BSU men’s hockey team Friday night against North Dakota.

Maybe it was his stuff on UND’s Michael Parks on a breakaway early in the first period.

It could have been the sequence with under a minute left that included UND’s Rocco Grimaldi hitting a post followed by Jordan Schmaltz getting a shot from the faceoff dot that Walsh bobbled then froze for a faceoff.

And then there was the final push in overtime where the puck hit Walsh right in the mask but was safely poked away.

Whichever save one considers Walsh’s “biggest” of the night — and there were plenty — only one result matters to the junior goaltender.

“Just make the save,” he said. “Not a lot goes through your mind at that point. You just have to make the save.”

Walsh, as it turns out, saved a game for the Beavers.

BSU, behind Walsh’s outstanding evening and Cory Ward’s game-tying second-period goal, survived for a 1-1 tie against visiting North Dakota in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,512 at the Sanford Center.

“We knew going into the game it was going to be a war out there,” Walsh said. “If you look at the series last year, it was an OT game and a one-goal game. So we knew it was going to be a tight-scoring game and just a battle in every aspect.”

The Beavers (7-11-7) survived for the nonconference tie despite a dominating offensive performance from UND in the first period. North Dakota (11-7-3) outshot BSU 16-4 and had twice as many scoring chances but had nothing to show for it after 20 minutes.

“We were on our heels,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “They played with great pace. Out puck management wasn’t very good in that first period and we allowed them to play a 200 -foot game.

“That’s what you don’t want them to do. You have to play a halfcourt game, you have to manage the puck and you have to possess the puck down low. In the first period we neglected to do that.”

Still, the score remained 1-1 because of Walsh.

His save on the Parks breakaway midway through the first was key, and often it looked like UND was on an extended power play for the entire period.

“I think it was obvious Walsh got us out of the first,” said Ward. “You go to the locker room thinking that’s the best UND is going to be, but it was 0-0. It’s still even hockey game and it gave us a lot of guys a jump and we played a lot better in the second and the third.”

UND finally found the scoreboard thanks to Rocco Grimaldi in the second period.

He scored on a nasty one-timer eight minutes in that beat Walsh after UND’d Drake Caggiula dug out a puck from the end-wall and backhanded it to Grimaldi in the slot.

But Ward had an answer late in the period, scoring his team-high 13-th goal of the season at the 18:15 mark of the second.

Brendan Harms picked up a loose puck off a faceoff and found Ward with a 1-on-1.

For some reason the UND defensemen left BSU’s leading scorer with a little bit of space and Ward sniped it past UND goalie Zane Gothberg top shelf from the circle.

The teams went into the second intermission tied at 1-1 and the third period featured a 14-4 UND shot advantage and slightly more scoring chances. One of the best came when the two teams were playing 4-on-4 and UND had a virtual 3-on-1 but Walsh knocked it away.

Grimaldi also had a 2-on-1 chance that Walsh gloved.

In overtime a frenetic final minute of play saw Radoslav Illo hit a pipe with 30 seconds left and then UND’s Brendan O’Donnell taking it the other way before being stoned by Walsh.

UND outshot BSU 43-15 and Gothberg made 14 saves.

The teams will make the trip to Grand Forks today for the rematch at 7:07 p.m.

The sold-out Sanford Center crowd was mostly pro-BSU but with some very vocal UND fans scattered around the arena, even starting up some distinct "Let's Go Sioux!" chants during periods of UND offensive-zone dominance.

Walsh and Ward both agreed that today’s game at Ralph Engelstad Arena will be just as exciting.

“It was an unbelievable atmosphere tonight,” Walsh said. “Our fans showed up. There were a lot of North Dakota fans in the crowd but ours were loud and awesome.”

“We’re going to have to use it and have fun,” Ward said of tonight’s potential pro-UND crowd. “We have to use the nervousness and turn it into excitement. Every hockey player loves playing in the Ralph. It will be a fun time.”

Bemidji State 1, North Dakota 1, OT

UND 0 1 0 0— 1

BSU 0 1 0 0 — 1

First Period — No Scoring. Penalties — UND, Caggiula (Boarding), 19:28.

Second Period — 1, UND, Grimaldi (Caggiula, Johnson), 6:42; 2, BSU, Ward (Harms), 18:15. Penalties — UND, Pattyn (Holding), 15:16; BSU, Gerbrandt (Interference), 16:02; BSU, O’Connor (Tripping), 19:48.

Third Period — No Scoring. Penalties — BSU, Marinaccio (Roughing), 6:44; UND, Parks (Slashing), 7:50.

Overtime — No Scoring. Penalties — None.

Shots On Goal — UND 16-8-14-5—43; BSU, 4-6-4-1—15. Goalies — UND, Gothberg (15-14); BSU, Walsh, 43-42. Penalties-Minutes — UND 3-6, BSU, 3-6. Power Plays-Opportunities — UND, 0-for-3; BSU, 0-for-3. Faceoffs — UND 33-19. Three Stars — 1-Walsh, BSU; 2-Ward, BSU; 3-Grimaldi, UND.

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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