MEN’S HOCKEY: NMU’s potent offense too much for Beavers in quarterfinal opener

Matching up with fourth-seeded Northern Michigan, fifth-seeded BSU faced a tall task trying to stop a Wildcats team that had won four straight and posted 17 goals in its last home series.

Bemidji State players battle for the puck during Game 1 of the CCHA Quarterfinals on Friday, March 3, 2023, in Marquette, Mich.
Courtesy / Northern Michigan Athletics

MARQUETTE, Mich. -- The Bemidji State men’s hockey team knew it would have its hands full on Friday in Marquette, Mich.

Matching up with fourth-seeded Northern Michigan in the opening game of the CCHA Quarterfinals, fifth-seeded BSU faced a tall task trying to stop an NMU team that had won four straight and posted 17 goals in its last home series.

The Wildcats didn’t quite get there on Friday. But they were close enough, and that was too much for the Beavers, who couldn't keep up in a 7-3 loss.

With the defeat, Bemidji State must now win two consecutive games against Northern Michigan to prolong its season.

The proceedings commenced auspiciously enough for BSU (14-16-5), as Kyle Looft rocketed in a blast from the right point to give the Beavers an early lead at 4:35 in the first period. But NMU (19-16) struck with a pair of quick goals, as Rylan Van Unen and Joey Larson scored 37 seconds apart.


Carter Jones tied it up for Bemidji State later in the frame, stealing the puck in the offensive zone before threading home a backhand shot at 13:20.

A calmer second period concluded with Northern Michigan back in front, as Michael Colella scored 4-on-4 at 16:59 to put the Wildcats on top 3-2.

Ross Armour responded with a clinical finish in the slot at 6:32 in the third, bringing BSU level once again. But the worst was yet to come for the Beavers.

NMU’s offense shifted into fifth gear in the final frame, as Joey Larson, Colella, Andre Ghantous and Michael Van Unen buried Bemidji State under a scoring avalanche. Larson and Colella’s goals came just 1:04 apart, and Ghantous’ score at 16:04 made it 6-3 and sealed the contest.

Goaltender Mattias Sholl saved 17 of 23 shots faced for BSU, while Northern Michigan’s Beni Halasz stopped 28 of 31.

Now on the brink of elimination, the Beavers will lace it up once again with the Wildcats at 5:07 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, back in Marquette.

Northern Michigan 7, Bemidji State 3

BSU 2 0 1 -- 3


NMU 2 1 4 -- 7

First period -- 1, BSU GOAL, Looft (Corcoran, Martan), 4:35; 2, NMU GOAL, R. Van Unen (Vanderbeck, Funk), 11:36; 3, NMU GOAL, Larson (Shlaine, Papp), 12:13; 4, BSU GOAL, Jones (unassisted), 13:20.

Second period -- 5, NMU GOAL, Colella (Enns, Vescio), 16:59, 4v4.

Third period -- 6, BSU GOAL, Armour (Roed, Magnuson), 6:32; 7, NMU GOAL, Larson (Shlaine, Ghantous), 9:43, PP; 8, NMU GOAL, Colella (Ghantous, Kjellberg), 10:47; 9, NMU GOAL, Ghantous (Eddy), 16:04; 10, NMU GOAL, M. Van Unen (Frye, Keefer), 17:09, EN.

Saves -- Sholl (BSU) 17; Halasz (NMU) 28.

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