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MEN'S HOCKEY: Combs strikes late, BSU forces tie with UND

Bemidji State's Dillon Eichstadt bats the puck away from UND's Nick Jones during Saturday's game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. (Eric Hylden/Forum News Service)1 / 3
Bemidji State's Dillon Eichstadt upends UND's Joel Janatuinen during overtime of Saturday's game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. (Eric Hylden/Forum News Service)2 / 3
UND's Nick Jones works to get the puck past Bemidji State goalie Zach Driscoll during Saturday's game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. (Eric Hylden/Forum News Service)3 / 3

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Charlie Combs struck in the waning minutes of the third period Saturday night to earn a 1-1 tie for the Bemidji State men’s hockey team against No. 13 North Dakota at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.

With the Beavers (1-0-1) trailing the Fighting Hawks (0-1-1), 1-0, with 4:14 to play in the third period, Combs fired a slap shot past goalie Adam Scheel to level the score at 1-1.

“I think it was a back-and-forth game,” Combs said. “There weren’t many shots, but we always stuck to it and it ended up kind of tilting our way towards the third and we ended up scoring.”

The teams played to a 1-1 tie after a scoreless overtime as the Beavers took a 2-1 win Friday and a tie from UND in the home-and-home series to start the season.

In 41 meetings stretching back to 1970, the weekend marked the first time BSU had taken a win and a tie for its first-ever series win over North Dakota.

“Obviously it’s a good start to the season,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “I just thought our guys played really hard this weekend. We defended hard. These were two difficult games from an offensive standpoint. They defend well, we defend well. It was just a turf war.”

Prior to Combs’ goal, the only other scoring came courtesy of Grant Mismash and his goal just two minutes, 31 seconds into the contest. The sophomore grabbed a loose puck and shot it past a sprawling Zach Driscoll for the goal.

What followed were a mostly uneventful 52 minutes of hockey.

The remainder of the first period went by without much to speak of in terms of offense as UND edged BSU, 5-4, in shots on goal.

Freshman Ross Armour came the closest of any Beaver to scoring through the first two periods. With the Beavers on the power play late in the frame, the forward fired a shot off the crossbar that appeared at first glance to have bounced out from under the roof of the cage. Upon review, officials upheld the no-goal ruling.

The second period was more of the same with the Fighting Hawks out-shooting BSU, 7-3, in a frame that featured plenty of neutral zone play. The Beaver penalty kill successfully kept UND off the board in killing a pair of minors in the period.

The BSU PK unit killed a third-period penalty before Combs eventually tallied his equalizer.

Driscoll, a sophomore transfer, made his first start in net as a Beaver and made 26 saves.

For the second straight game, BSU goalies only surrendered a goal apiece in each contest after Hank Johnson made 28 saves in Friday’s win.

Serratore said the plan going into the weekend was to start Johnson in the first game and Driscoll in the second.

“I thought he played well,” Serratore said of Driscoll’s debut. “I mean he obviously gave up one goal on 28 shots. He stood tall, Hank stood tall last night. I’m happy with our goaltending over the weekend, but I’m especially happy with how we defended. I think that’s how we’ve got to look at things right there.”

The Beavers will have next weekend off before beginning Western Collegiate Hockey Association play Oct. 26-27 at Northern Michigan.

Bemidji State 1, No. 13 North Dakota 1 (OT)

BSU 0 0 1 0 --1

UND 1 0 0 0 -- 1

First period -- 1, UND, Mismash (Jones, Hain), 2:31.

Second period -- No scoring.

Third period -- 2, BSU, Combs (Harris), 15:46.

Overtime -- No scoring.

Goalies (saves-shots) -- BSU, Driscoll (26-27); UND, Scheel (15-16).

Austin Monteith

Austin Monteith is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He is an Illinois native and a Butler University graduate. Follow him on Twitter @amonteith92.

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