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Bemidji State men's hockey team rallies in third period to top Colorado College 4-2

Tyler Tosunian's first collegiate goal came at the right moment for the Bemidji State men's hockey team. The freshman scored midway through the third period to put the Beavers ahead for good in a 4-2 victory over No. 10 Colorado College in front ...

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Bemidji State's Aaron McLeod, center, deflects a shot into Colorado College goalie Joe Howe as Colorado College's Joe Marciano defends during the first period of Friday's game in Bemidji. Pioneer Photo|Eric Stromgren

Tyler Tosunian's first collegiate goal came at the right moment for the Bemidji State men's hockey team.

The freshman scored midway through the third period to put the Beavers ahead for good in a 4-2 victory over No. 10 Colorado College in front of 3,305 fans Friday night at the Sanford Center.

"It's a great feeling and it's nice to get that first one off of my back," said Tosunian, a Whittier, Calif. native. "It's been kind of a slow start so far but it feels really good."

Brance Orban scored twice in the three-goal third period for the Beavers, who won back-to-back games for the first time in over a month.

Colorado College controlled play early, and took a 2-1 lead into the third period on second-period goals from Rylan Schwartz and Tim Hall.

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The Beavers rallied to win when Orban tied the game for the last time in the opening minutes of the third period, Tosunian scored the game winner with 9:49 to play and Orban scored an empty-net goal with 30 seconds remaining.

"I felt like it could have went either way all night long," Orban said. "Our line was matched up with the Schwartzes all night and I think they got the best of us in the first. We really wanted to try and make an impact in the game somehow and we were happy to chip in."

Bemidji State (14-12-3, 8-10-3 WCHA) and Colorado College (15-10-2, 12-8-1 WCHA) conclude the weekend series Saturday at the Sanford Center at 7:07 p.m.

Bemidji State was outshot 15-8 in a sluggish first period and stayed in the game on the play of goalie Dan Bakala. He finished with 29 saves and made a few acrobatic moves early, including a glove stop on Alexander Krushelnyski.

"He's really on his game right now," Tosunian said. "In the first period they were kind of taking it to us but he kept us right in. He's been making some unbelievable saves so you have to give him credit for the win today."

The Beavers, despite the pressure, took a 1-0 lead into intermission when Aaron McLeod beat Colorado College goalie Joe Howe through the legs on a soft backhand shot with 3:33 left in the period.

Colorado College answered 62 seconds into the second period on Schwartz's power-play goal, a short-side wrist shot a few steps off the goal line over Bakala's glove.

Hall's contested wrist shot in front of the BSU net clanked off the crossbar for a shorthanded goal to put the Tigers ahead 2-1 with 6:34 left into the period.

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"That was a tough goal but our guys fought back and that's a testament to how our guys are playing, how hard they work and how bad they want it," BSU head coach Tom Serratore said.

Orban tied the game 1:53 into the third period by taking a cross-ice pass from Shea Walters and powering a one-timer past Howe's blocker.

"I thought it (third period) was relatively even, but I thought they made a play when they needed to make a play and we didn't," Colorado College head coach Scott Owens said.

"Whoever got the goal to make it 2-2 or 3-1 was going to have the huge advantage in the game."

Making his first appearance in six games and playing in his 11th game this season, Tosunian leaned into a slap shot at the top of the circle to the left of Howe and put BSU ahead 3-2.

Tosunian was put in Friday's lineup because of an undisclosed lower body injury to second-line forward Radoslav Illo, who will not play Saturday and is week-to-week.

Serratore said he put Tosunian in the lineup because he was BSU's most experienced freshman.

The win improved Bemidji State's home record to 10-4-1 this season.

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"We have a good feeling here at home and our guys - each and every game - I think they believe," Serratore said. "I think they believe in each other and that's good to see. You can't say enough when you come back on a team like this. I don't care if you're at home, this is a feather in their cap."

Colorado College 0 2 0 - 2

BSU 1 0 3 - 4

First period - 1, BSU McLeod 7 (unassisted), 16:27.

Second period - 2, CC R. Schwartz 19 (J. Schwartz, Guentzel), 1:02, (pp). 3, CC Hall 3 (Harstad), 13:26, (sh).

Third period - 4, BSU Orban 6 (Walters), 1:53. 5, BSU Tosunian 1 (Hunt, MacQueen), 10:11. 6, BSU Orban 7 (Boehm, McLeod), 19:30.

Shots on goal - CC, 15-9-7-31. BSU, 8-11-8-27.

Goalies - CC, Howe (27-23). BSU, Bakala (31-29).

Power plays - CC, 1-for-2. BSU, 0-for-1.

A- 3,305.

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The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.