MEN’S HOCKEY: BSU, NMU play to 1-1 tie, Wildcats earn extra point in 3-on-3 OT
BEMIDJI -- Little flow was to be found in a game that officially ended in a 1-1 tie for the Bemidji State men's hockey team Friday night at the Sanford Center, though Northern Michigan scored during 3-on-3 overtime to win the extra point in the W...
BEMIDJI -- Little flow was to be found in a game that officially ended in a 1-1 tie for the Bemidji State men’s hockey team Friday night at the Sanford Center, though Northern Michigan scored during 3-on-3 overtime to win the extra point in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings.
“There wasn’t a lot of flow,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “There wasn’t a lot of easy ice and it made for that kind of game. It was probably meant to be a tie.”
Myles Fitzgerald scored in his first game back in the lineup after missing five games due to injury. His power-play goal tied the game at 1-1 late in the first period, the last goal that would be scored until the second overtime.
Michael Bitzer stopped 20 shots for the Beavers (5-6-4, 2-4-3-2 WCHA) and Mathias Israelsson made 24 saves for the Wildcats (8-8-1, 6-4-1-1 WCHA).
“There wasn’t a lot of easy ice,” Serratore said. “Both teams defended very quick. We had some good opportunities early. I thought Israelsson was the difference early. I thought in the end of the first period and the second period he made some big saves, and I thought we really levelled off and then they had some good push.”
The Beavers played most of the game without top-line forward Adam Brady after the sophomore received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for checking from behind in the first period.
Bitzer and the BSU penalty kill held off the Wildcats for more than four minutes until Robbie Payne scored from the left circle with 56 seconds left on the power play for a 1-0 lead.
A high sticking penalty was assessed at 17:40 of the frame to set up the Beavers’ lone goal.
Myles Fitzgerald squared things back up at 1-all thanks to his redirect in front of the crease. Justin Baudry fired the original shot from the point to pick up an assist on the power-play goal with 42 ticks left in the first period.
BSU outshot NMU 9-4 in the second frame to take a 16-13 edge overall, but the game remained tied at 1-1.
The third period played out similarly to the second, as the score stayed at 1-1 through the end of regulation.
Jordan Heller had the best look in overtime but the game officially went in the books as a 1-1 tie.
The Wildcats were whistled for too many men during the 3-on-3 overtime period, leading to a 4-on-3 power-play opportunity for the Beavers.
Despite playing down a man, Jordan Klimek tumbled to the ice on a breakaway as he threaded a shot through Bitzer’s legs for the goal, clinching two points in the WCHA standings.
“The last couple minutes of the first overtime and the last couple minutes of the third period, I thought it opened up a little bit,” Serratore said. “But there wasn’t a lot of easy ice. You lose a game like that, no question it’s a punch in the stomach. But that’s kind of how the game went.”
The teams will reassemble at the Sanford Center at 7:07 tonight for the series finale as the Beavers go for their first regulation win since Nov. 22.
Northern Michigan 1, Bemidji State 1 (NMU wins in 2OT)
NMU 1 0 0 0 -- 1
BSU 1 0 0 0 -- 1
First period -- 1, NMU, Payne (Beaulieu, Rockwood), 12:07, PP; 2, BSU, M. Fitzgerald (Baudry, Harris), 19:18, PP.
Second period -- No Scoring.
Third period -- No scoring.
Overtime -- No scoring.
Second overtime -- 3, NMU, Klimek (unassisted), 3:02, SH.
Goaltenders (Shots-Saves) -- BSU, Bitzer (21-20); NMU, Israelsson (25-24).