BEMIDJI -- Ross Armour flipped the script for the Bemidji State men’s hockey team in a 4-3 overtime victory over Minnesota State at the Sanford Center on Saturday night.
The junior netted the winner in 3-on-3 overtime to lift the No. 19 Beavers to a win over the No. 3 Mavericks. MSU had won by the same score in an overtime game just two days prior in Mankato.
“I thought both games, the Thursday game and the Saturday game, were almost mirror images of each other,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said.
The teams alternated goals until Minnesota State struck 48 seconds into the third period for a 3-2 lead, its first of the night. Ethan Somoza knotted the game back up three minutes later before Armour ultimately broke the tie in overtime.
“I thought we played a lot stronger in the third period on Thursday night,” Serratore said. “Tonight I thought we kind of hung on a bit. I thought (Minnesota State) dictated play in the third period, but we were better on faceoffs, as well.”
The Mavericks (16-3-1, 11-1-0 WCHA) were handed their first league loss of the season. Bemidji State (10-7-3, 5-4-1 WCHA) is responsible for two of Minnesota State’s losses and its lone tie.
Each team walked away with three points in the WCHA standings.
Those points are more important for the Beavers as they attempt to lock up a home-ice playoff spot during their last four games this upcoming week. MSU on the other hand clinched the MacNaughton Cup and the top seed in the league playoffs Thursday.
“It was just nice getting two points today,” Serratore said, “because every point is critical right now.”
BSU (16 points) trails Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan in a three-way tie for third place at 20 points each. Second-place Bowling Green has 24 points. Bemidji State has more games remaining than any team in the conference.
Elias Rosén scored the first of two power-play goals Saturday for Bemidji State. The blue-liner connected with Alex Ierullo four minutes into the game.
Reggie Lutz equalized three minutes later when the Mavericks took advantage of a Beaver turnover.
Lukas Sillinger tallied the second power-play goal of the night, firing from the left circle to regain a 2-1 lead at 6:11 of the second period.
Again, Minnesota State answered with a shorthanded goal from Brendan Furry moments later.
Lutz’s would-be second goal was waved off for goaltender interference with 4:29 to go in the second. Furry skated by goalie Zach Driscoll and knocked the stick from his hand prior to the goal.
Walker Duehr struck 48 seconds into the third period to give the Mavericks a 3-2 lead.
Somoza tied the game back up at 3-all minutes later. Brendan Harris slid a centering pass to the senior in the slot for the tying goal with 16:19 to go in the frame.
A second MSU goal was waved off upon review with 8:10 remaining. Julian Napravnik’s goal was disregarded after officials ruled he kicked the puck into the net.
Play continued into 3-on-3 overtime when Sillinger played a puck across to Armour on a 2-on-1 rush for the winning goal at 2:26 of the extra frame.
“We’ve got to possess the puck as much as we can, and if we don’t see anything we like we’ve got to turn back,” Armour said of playing 3-on-3. “I thought we did that well there and capitalized.”
Driscoll totaled 24 saves while Dryden McKay made 19 for Minnesota State.
BSU finished 2-for-5 on the power play and held the Mavericks 0-for-2.
The Beavers will have only two days to rest before beginning a slate of four games in six days.
Bemidji State will host Lake Superior State on Tuesday, March 2, and Wednesday, March 3, before Alabama Huntsville comes to town for a Saturday-Sunday set. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:07 p.m. Tuesday and 4:07 p.m. Wednesday.
No. 19 Bemidji State 4, No. 3 Minnesota State 3 (OT)
MSU 1 1 1 0 -- 3
BSU 1 1 1 1 -- 4
First period -- 1, BSU, Rosén (Ierullo, Harris), 4:00, PP; 2, MSU, Lutz (Duehr), 7:08.
Second period -- 3, BSU, L. Sillinger (Martin, Vold), 6:11, PP; 4, MSU, Furry (Napravnik), 12:30, SH.
Third period -- 5, MSU, Duehr (Napravnik, McNeely), 0:48; 6, BSU, Somoza (Harris, Rosén), 3:41.
Overtime -- 7, BSU, Armour (L. Sillinger, Vold), 2:26.
Goalies (saves-shots) -- BSU, Driscoll (24-27); MSU, McKay (19-23).