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MEN’S HOCKEY: Bemidji State falls 4-3 as Huskies hang on late

“I thought we were chasing the game," BSU head coach Tom Serratore said.

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The Beavers call a timeout with a minute left in the third period against Michigan Tech on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State men’s hockey team returned to the Sanford Center and dropped a tight matchup with Michigan Tech on Friday night, as the Huskies managed to take control in a 2-0 second period and preserve the lead in the third to win 4-3.

“I thought they were the better team,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “I thought we were chasing the game. They had a lot more oomph than us. They had a lot more puck possession. They made more plays.

“We played well in spurts. But I didn't think our 60 minutes was very good.”

Serratore and his players both thought they started slowly in the first period, despite taking an early lead on a goal by Eric Martin -- off a slick assist from Lukas Sillinger -- and ending the period tied 1-1.

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“I think we were just trying to get these defensemen moving, cutting back,” Sillinger said. “Attacking these guys is something I want to do. So sometimes you have to play the game simple, but sometimes you have to take advantage and attack when you can. And Marty made a nice finish there.”

The second period was a more focused period, but one that put the No. 20 Beavers in a hole they struggled to climb out of. Owen Sillinger’s power-play goal less than two minutes into the third period gave them life, but Michigan Tech’s Tommy Parrottino blew on the candle with an insurance score at 6:25 to push the deficit back to two.

BSU (6-5, 5-2 CCHA) had another answer with Lukas Sillinger’s goal at 10:23. But despite a number of chances down the stretch before and after pulling goaltender Gavin Enright, the Beavers couldn’t cash in.

“We kept pushing there right to the end,” Lukas Sillinger said. “So that's good to see from the guys. Obviously, it sucks coming up a little bit short, but we know we get these guys tomorrow.”

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Bemidji State sophomore Lukas Sillinger (20) scores in the third period against Michigan Tech on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Enright started his fourth straight game and stopped 30 shots. He’s settled into a role as a major part of the Beavers’ goalie rotation, but the increase in playing time hasn’t affected his preparation.

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“Even when I don't play, I go through the same routine, so it's nothing crazy,” Enright said. “So if I play, if I don't play, I'm in the same rhythm and everything, and just ready to go in all the time. So that's kind of how I keep my rhythm at least. And right now, it's been working pretty well for me.”

Bemidji State has one more opportunity to even up the series and keep pace near the top of the CCHA standings. The Beavers entered the weekend second in the league, trailing only No. 3 Minnesota State, which received four first-place votes in the latest USCHO poll.

“I think tomorrow, we got to take it period by period,” Lukas Sillinger said. “We got to try to win every period.”

BSU faces the Huskies once again at 6:07 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Sanford Center.

112421.S.BP.BSUMHKY Gavin Enright.jpg
Bemidji State goalie Gavin Enright (1) stops a shot in the third period against Michigan Tech on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Michigan Tech 4, Bemidji State 3

MTU 1 2 1 -- 4

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BSU 1 0 2 -- 3

First period -- 1, BSU GOAL, Martin (L. Sillinger, Magnuson), 4:09; 2, MTU GOAL, Ashbrook (Swoyer, L. Pietila), 10:29.

Second period -- 3, MTU GOAL, Mosley (Caderoth, Nardella), 1:27; 4, MTU GOAL, Ashbrook (Halonen, Misiak), 17:35, PP.

Third period -- 5, BSU GOAL, O. Sillinger (Armour, Ierullo), 1:49, PP; 6, MTU GOAL, Parrottino (L. Pietila, Ashbrook), 6:25; 7, BSU GOAL, L. Sillinger (Rosen, O. Sillinger), 10:23.

Saves -- Enright (BSU) 30; B. Pietila (MTU) 22.

112421.S.BP.BSUMHKY Owen Sillinger goal celebration.jpg
Bemidji State senior Owen Sillinger (12) celebrates after scoring in the third period against Michigan Tech on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

112421.S.BP.BSUMHKY Lukas Sillinger goal celebration.jpg
Bemidji State sophomore Lukas Sillinger (20) celebrates after scoring in the third period against Michigan Tech on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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