MEN’S HOCKEY: Win No. 1 in WCHA: Beavers pull away from Nanooks for first league victory (photo gallery)
BEMIDJI -- It had been so long since he'd seen any game action, Reid Mimmack wasn't sure how he would react when they turned off the lights and called the Bemidji State junior's name for the starting lineups at the beginning of Saturday night's game.
BEMIDJI -- It had been so long since he’d seen any game action, Reid Mimmack wasn’t sure how he would react when they turned off the lights and called the Bemidji State junior’s name for the starting lineups at the beginning of Saturday night’s game.
“It was definitely just, get the first save out of the way, feel the puck, get confident,” Mimmack said.
The goaltender from Brainerd didn’t need to worry. He stopped the first Alaska shot -- one of 20 he would need to make on the day -- and his teammates did the rest. Bemidji State beat Alaska 6-3 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association action at the Sanford Center.
It was the first career victory for Mimmack, and the first WCHA win of the season for the Beavers (2-5-2, 1-4-1 WCHA), who snapped a seven-game winless streak.
Mimmack's last start -- nearly two years ago -- was a 6-3 nonconference loss against Miami on Nov. 30, 2013. He last saw game action on March 7, 2014, against Bowling Green. Saturday's game was just the fourth career game for BSU's backup goalie.
“It was great to get out there and feel the puck again,” Mimmack said. “It was really nice to be out there with the guys again. There are certainly some goals I’d love to have back but when the guys put up six, it’s hard to lose. “
And although the Beavers let an early 2-0 first-period lead slip, BSU netted four goals in the third period -- including three on the power play -- to help back up Mimmack.
“It was a big win for us,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “We needed this win tonight. We said it last night after the game, this was a must-win…. Guys knew it, so we talked about it. Reid felt good out there, he looked confident, and our guys played well. Couldn’t have happened to a better guy.”
Junior center Nate Arentz’s even-strength goal, scored just 2 minutes, 46 seconds into the third, broke the tie and opened the floodgates for the Beavers.
Markus Gerbrandt, sophomore winger Leo Fitzgerald and sophomore winger Kyle Bauman all scored on the man-advantage in the third period.
Gerbrandt’s ended up being the game-winner at the 4:18 mark of the third; it was the first goal of the season for the senior winger. Arentz, Gerbrandt and senior John Parker were playing together on the same line on Saturday.
“It was nice to see those guys get that third goal,” Serratore said. “That energized our bench. Then we converted on the power play and it was nice to convert on the power play.”
Alaska (4-6-0, 2-4-0 WCHA) committed six penalties for 12 minutes in the game -- including four in the third period -- and the Beavers took advantage.
“If they’re going to shoot themselves in the foot, we definitely need to to capitalize on that, and our power play has been clicking all season…. I know that from practice,” Mimmack said jokingly. “It’s nice to see the boys get rewarded.”
Junior winger Brendan Harms and redshirt freshman winger Jay Dickman also scored for the Beavers, both in the first period. It was Dickman’s first career goal.
Marcus Basara scored two of Alaska’s three goals, while Tayler Munson added the third. Davis Jones made 24 saves in the loss for the Nanooks.
The win was the first for the Beavers since their 3-2 season-opening win against Minnesota Duluth on Oct. 9 in Bemidji.
“It feels like it had been forever since that Duluth win,” Gerbrandt said. “It’s a monkey off the back. Right now I guess we’re looking towards next weekend. We want to get something rolling, we want to get a few consecutive wins now.”
Bemidji State 6, Alaska 3
UAF 0 2 1 -- 3
BSU 2 0 4 -- 6
First Period -- 1, BSU, Dickman (Unassisted), 2:17; 2, BSU, Harms (Pedan, Billett), 11:21. Penalties -- UAF, Team (Too Many Men), 3:27; UAF, Erickson (Boarding), 15:38; BSU, Pedan (Slashing), 18:00.
Second Period -- 3, UAF, Munson (Frye, Weiss), 2:51, PP; 4, UAF, Basara 1 (Kreiger, Hinz), 19:36. Penalties -- BSU, Ward (Hooking), 1:11.
Third Period -- 5, BSU, Arentz (Gerbrandt, Ward), 2:46; 6, BSU, Gerbrandt (McCormack, Ward), 4:18, PP; 7, BSU, L.Fitzgerald (Baudry, Beauvais), 12:51, PP; 8, UAF, Basara 2 (Kreiger, Weiss), 15:06; 9, BSU, Bauman (Ward, Eichstadt), 16:18, PP. Penalties -- UAF, Atkinson (Hooking), 2:29; UAF, Huysmans (Interference), 5:57; BSU, Gerbrandt (Hooking), 6:23; UAF, Basara (Elbowing), 11:13; UAF, Huysmans (Goaltender Interference), 16:11.
Shots On Goal -- UAF, 7-6-10--23; BSU, 8-13-9--30. Goaltenders (Shots-Saves) -- UAF, Jones (30-24); BSU, Mimmack (23-20). Penalties-Minutes -- UAF, 6-12; BSU, 3-6. Power Plays-Opportunities -- UAF, 1-for-3; BSU, 3-for-6.