BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State men’s hockey team jumped all over Michigan Tech during a seven-minute stretch in the second period Saturday at the Sanford Center, burying three goals and taking control of what had been a 2-1 deficit.

After that dominant streak, the No. 20 Beavers held the line down the stretch and emerged with a 4-3 win, good enough to improve them to 7-5 and 6-2 in CCHA play.

“Our guys played their tails off,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “I think it was our best 60-minute performance of the year. It was the best collectively with our defensive core. Our defensive core, I thought, (was) outstanding tonight. I thought our puck possession game was good.

“We were a different team tonight than we were last night, and that's a testament to the players.”

The Beavers celebrate with goalie Mattias Sholl after defeating Michigan Tech 4-3 on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
The Beavers celebrate with goalie Mattias Sholl after defeating Michigan Tech 4-3 on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

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One night after dropping a 4-3 decision to Tech, the Beavers flipped the script and took command in the middle period. Ethan Somoza got it started with a power-play goal at 6:51 to tie it at 2-2, then Ross Armour gave BSU the lead on a breakaway at 11:13.

Bemidji State still wasn’t done, as Will Zmolek scored the game-winner seconds later at 12:32.

But none of those was the best goal of the game. That would be Owen Sillinger’s backwards backhander off an assist from Lukas Sillinger at 4:44 in the first period, which gave the Beavers an early 1-0 lead.

“I just saw Alex (Ierullo) go around the net,” Owen said. “He made a good kind of rim (pass) to Lukas. I saw that he saw me in the slot. Just tried to make a play to me, and I just honestly tried to get it on net, and then it went in.”

The Beavers react to Owen Sillinger’s (12) goal in the first period against Michigan Tech on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
The Beavers react to Owen Sillinger’s (12) goal in the first period against Michigan Tech on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

The stylish shot gave BSU early momentum. The Beavers lost some of it when Michigan Tech’s Arvid Caderoth scored at 17:26 in the first and Brett Thorne at 2:59 of the second, but Bemidji State got it all back and then some during the scorching stretch in the second stanza.

“Our physicality during that time frame was outstanding,” Serratore said. “We had good jump, we were above pucks, we were physical and we won footraces. Our loose-puck intensity was good, all that.

“That's what happens. We won about six shifts in a row, and when you win back-to-back shifts like that, the tide can turn, and it did.”

On the strength of the scoring surge, the Beavers shut out the Huskies for the remainder of the second period and held them to just one goal in the third to wrap up the win.

Bemidji State goalie Mattias Sholl (30) makes a save in the final minute of the third period against Michigan Tech on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji State goalie Mattias Sholl (30) makes a save in the final minute of the third period against Michigan Tech on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Freshman Mattias Sholl got the start for BSU and stopped 24 shots to earn his first home win. The three quick goals made it easier to do so.

“They had a couple of good pushes in that second period,” Sholl said. “And for us to handle it really well defensively and then turn that into offense in a quick span of time, that was huge for us. (We) got the game-winning goal in that spurt, so it was huge.”

Bemidji State will now travel to Tempe, Ariz., for the Beavers’ first-ever series with a nascent Arizona State program. BSU will face the Sun Devils at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24, and Friday, Nov. 26, sandwiching Thanksgiving Day with the two-game road series.

The Beavers celebrate Ethan Somoza’s (9) goal in the second period against Michigan Tech on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
The Beavers celebrate Ethan Somoza’s (9) goal in the second period against Michigan Tech on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Bemidji State 4, Michigan Tech 3

MTU 1 1 1 -- 3

BSU 1 3 0 -- 4

First period -- 1, BSU GOAL, O. Sillinger (L. Sillinger), 4:44; 2, MTU GOAL, Caderoth (Misiak, Ashbrook), 17:26.

Second period -- 3, MTU GOAL, Thorne (Mosley, Halonen), 2:59; 4, BSU GOAL, Somoza (O. Sillinger, Ierullo), 6:51, PP; 5, BSU GOAL, Armour (Lawson), 11:13; 6, BSU GOAL, Zmolek (Rosen), 12:32.

Third period -- 7, MTU GOAL, Karow (Swoyer, Halonen), 13:18.

Saves -- Sholl (BSU) 24; Pietila (MTU) 26.

Bemidji State junior Will Zmolek (4) shoots in the first period against Michigan Tech on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji State junior Will Zmolek (4) shoots in the first period against Michigan Tech on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)