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MEN'S HOCKEY: Four-goal third period leads Minnesota State past BSU

Minnesota State’s Bryce Gervais (9) and Bemidji State’s Sam Windle (4) batle for the puck during the second period Friday at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato. Pat Christman | Mankato Free Press

MANKATO — It was only a matter of time before Bemidji State’s top-ranked penalty kill and Minnesota State’s top-ranked power play would clash Friday night.

The Beavers, who came into Friday night’s game as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s top penalty kill and No. 4 in the nation, didn’t have to kill a penalty until midway through the second period.

BSU killed the first two of its penalties but in the third period the Mavericks showed why their power play was also No. 1 in the league (and also top-five nationally).

MSU scored four times in the final frame — including twice on the man-advantage — to defeat the Beavers 5-2.

With the loss BSU drops to 8-14-7 overall and 8-9-4 in league play.

The teams were tied 1-1 going into the third before Michael Huntebrinker broke the tie with his first goal of the season at the 2:30 mark.

The Mavs (16-13-0, 14-7-0 WCHA) added another one — the first of their two power play tallies in the period — following a James Hansen elbowing penalty three minutes into the period.

Right before Hansen stepped out of the box, MSU’s Zach Stepan scored what turned out to be the game-winner, getting a big rebound off a shot Jon Jutzi and burying it on the empty net left vacant by BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh.

MSU made it 4-1 on Zach Lehrke’s goal at the 13:44 mark, but BSU’s Cory Ward pulled BSU back to within two goals three minutes later.

Ward won the faceoff, pushed it back to defenseman Matt Prapavessis then got it back and scored a quick shot to beat MSU goalie Cole Huggins for his 17th goal of the season. Ward and JP Lafontaine, who had scored the game-tying goal earlier in the night, are tied for the WCHA lead in goals.

But MSU put the game away later in the period during a 4-on-3 power play with just over two minutes to go. Zach Palmquist netted a goal — assisted by LaFontaine and Leitner — to make it 5-2.

Walsh made 43 saves for BSU while Huggins stopped 26 shots for MSU.

Minnesota State 5, Bemidji State 2

BSU 1 0 1 — 2

MSU 0 1 4 — 5

First Period — 1, BSU, Harms (Arentz), 12:46. Penalties — MSU, Lehrke (Boarding), 14:33.

Second Period — 2, MSU, LaFontaine (Stern, Stepan), 3:14. Penalties — MSU, Leitner (Slashing), 6:29; MSU, Palmquist (Holding), 13:21; BSU, Illo (High Sticking), 14:43; MSU, Team (Too Many Men), 17:00; BSU, O’Connor (Holding), 19:58.

Third Period — 3, MSU, Huntebrinker (Knowles, Gaede), 2:30; 4, MSU, Stepan (Jutzi, Palmquist), 5:00, PP; 5, MSU, Lehrke (Gervais, Leitner), 13:44; 6, BSU, Ward (Prapavessis), 16:45; 7, MSU, Palmquist (LaFontaine, Leitner), 17:56, PP. Penalties — BSU, Hansen (Elbowing), 3:00; MSU, Grant (Cross-Checking), 16:40; BSU, Marinaccio (Roughing), 16:40; BSU, Pedan (High Sticking), 17:39.

Shots On Goal — BSU, 10-9-9—28; MSU — 14-17-17—48. Goalies (Shots-Saves) — BSU, Walsh (48-43); MSU, Huggins (28-26). Penalties-Minutes — BSU, 5-10; MSU 5-10. Power Plays-Opportunities — BSU, 0-for-4; MSU, 2-for-4.

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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