MEN’S HOCKEY: Minnesota State spoils Beavers’ season opener with 5-0 win
BEMIDJI — Despite the eventual final score, the Bemidji State men’s hockey team was simply glad to be back on the ice for an actual game Sunday evening.
No. 4/5 Minnesota State spoiled the No. 16 Beavers’ long-awaited season opener before a virtually empty Sanford Center by skating away with a 5-0 nonconference victory.
BSU needed to wait 259 days to return to action for its first contest since March 8. The coronavirus pandemic wiped out the remainder of the 2019-20 postseason and delayed the start of the ensuing 2020-21 season by seven weeks. Sunday’s contest marked the first time any Beaver squad had faced outside competition since the softball team’s March 13 doubleheader at the dawn of the pandemic.
“It was exciting to get out there. It’s been eight months. But obviously we’re not happy with the result. We’re not happy with our performance,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “It was great getting out and playing a hockey game. We’ve obviously got to have a better result than that, that’s for sure. I just felt we took a lot of shortcuts tonight. (MSU) is battled-tested and I thought they took advantage of a lot of our shortcuts.”
The Mavericks showed why they are one of the top ranked teams in the country by taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission and depositing two goals apiece over the final two frames. Junior goaltender Dryden McKay earned a 21-save shutout to extend his program record of 15 career shutouts.
MSU held the Beavers to under six shots on goal in each of the first two periods with the final shot-on-goal total standing at 27-21 for the visitors.
“It was not a very pretty outing, that’s for sure,” Serratore said. “It was a one-sided contest. Mankato is a team that obviously was on the right side of it, there’s no question.”
Andy Carroll opened the scoring late in the first period. Off a faceoff win, the junior blueliner snaked a shot through traffic from the far left circle for the opening tally.
One period later, Jake Livingstone netted his first collegiate goal in his NCAA debut. The freshman defenseman collected a loose puck in the low slot and deposited it stickside on netminder Zach Driscoll six minutes into the frame.
Moments later, Reggie Lutz buried Jake Jaremko’s rebound during a 2-on-1 rush to extend the lead to 3-0.
Lutz later scored his second of the game at 8:25 of the third, again off a Jaremko feed.
Goalie Michael Carr then took over in the BSU net for Driscoll, who totaled 20 saves on 24 shots in 49:53 of action. The sophomore made two saves on three shots over 10:07 in his first collegiate appearance.
The goal Carr conceded came during a 4-on-4 situation when Julian Napravnik finalized the score at 5-0 with under nine minutes remaining. Jaremko tallied his third assist on the play.
Bemidji State will be seeing much more of Minnesota State this week. The teams will square off in the series finale at 3:07 p.m. Monday at the Sanford Center, before traveling to Mankato for another nonconference series Nov. 27-28.
The Beavers will look to quickly erase Sunday’s result from their memories and net their first win of the season in Monday’s matinee.
“It’s a short turnaround, so you better have a short memory,” Serratore said. “You’ve just got to move on. That’s what I told the guys after the game. Have a short memory, and when you get here tomorrow, it is a new day and that’s how you’ve got to look at things right now.”
No. 4/5 Minnesota State 5, No. 16 Bemidji State 0
MSU 1 2 2 -- 5
BSU 0 0 0 -- 0
First period -- 1, MSU, Carroll (Sowder, Napravnik), 13:54.
Second period -- 2, MSU, Livingstone (Borchardt, Spooner), 6:03; 3, MSU, Lutz (Jaremko, Burgess), 11:52.
Third period -- 4, MSU, Lutz (Jaremko, Burgess), 8:25; 5, MSU, Napravnik (Jaremko), 11:17, 4v4.
Goalies (saves-shots) -- BSU, Driscoll (20-24), Carr (2-3); MSU, McKay (21-21).