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Beavers bite hard early, but UND storms back to force 3-3 tie

The first period went as well as the Bemidji State men’s hockey team could have hoped – the Beavers led 2-0, killed a five-minute major penalty and successfully challenged North Dakota’s eventually disallowed goal. But the Fighting Hawks stormed back in the second period.

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The Beavers fight for the puck during the third period against North Dakota on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- It was a tale of three periods on Friday at the Sanford Center.

The first went as well as the Bemidji State men’s hockey team could have hoped – the Beavers led 2-0, killed a five-minute major penalty and successfully challenged North Dakota’s eventually disallowed goal for too many men on the ice. But the Fighting Hawks stormed back in the second period, sending the game to a 3-3 tie.

Both teams hunkered down defensively down the stretch, and the 3-3 score held through the 3-on-3 overtime period. UND won the ensuing shootout 2-0.

“It’s great having a two-goal lead,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “Any game, it's nice getting a two-goal lead. That doesn't happen too often. It's a sport where there's not a lot of goals being scored. And when you get that two-goal lead, you get a little breather on the bench right there, there's no question. But you still got to stick with it, that's the biggest thing. That other team is going to have something to say about it.”

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The Beavers celebrate after junior Eric Martin scored during the first period against North Dakota on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji State claimed the early 2-0 advantage with Jakub Lewandowski’s crease deflection of Elias Rosén’s pass at 4:06 in the first period, plus Eric Martin’s rebound goal on the power play at 16:49. But the ice tilted in favor of the Fighting Hawks in the second period.

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“Just like any team would, they came out even harder because they're more desperate at that moment, and unfortunately they got all their goals,” said BSU goaltender Mattias Sholl. “They got two in a pretty quick spurt there at the start.”

Griffin Ness poked at a loose puck inside the crease for North Dakota’s first score at 2:25 in the second. Lleyton Roed responded with a highlight-reel, top-shelf 2-on-1 finish at 2:54, but UND wouldn’t go away.

Jackson Blake found a rebound just outside the crease and deposited it at 4:28, then at 18:37, defenseman Ty Farmer thrashed a shot through traffic from the blue line for the Fighting Hawks’ final goal.

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Bemidji State senior Elias Rosén (28) passes the puck to sophomore Jakub Lewandowski during the first period against North Dakota on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Roed’s score shouldn’t escape notice, though. He and Kaden Pickering sauntered down the ice, passing the puck back and forth before Pickering set up Roed for a flourish from the left circle.

“(Kaden) made a great play on the wall to get the puck out of the zone,” Roed recalled, “and then coming up the ice, an unreal pass, and I just had to put in the four-by-six (goal). It was a great two-goal lead goal. (I wish we) could have ridden that, but things happen.”

The Beavers built a 3-1 edge with Roed’s riveting score, but the fantastic flick didn’t spawn a defensive resurgence. Even so, Sholl kept Bemidji State from falling behind with an array of impressive stops, finishing with 28 total saves.

“I had a lot of fun in the game today,” Sholl said. “It was a high-paced game. We knew they were going to come in and be flying because they're a desperate team, just like we are. You always expect when you're playing an NCHC team to have a good motor on them.”

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Bemidji State freshman Lleyton Roed (29) takes control of the puck during the third period against North Dakota on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BSU is now 5-3-3 this season (3-1-2 CCHA), while North Dakota stands at 5-6-3 (2-3-1 NCHC). Neither team particularly wanted to tie, so both teams should come out with similar intensity on Saturday.

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“We need to get a win out of this weekend, I would say,” Sholl said. “I'm sure they're thinking the exact same thing. We're both kind of locked in the same standings (vicinity), so we played to win the game.”

The two teams will tee it off once again at 6:07 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26, in Grand Forks, N.D.

North Dakota 3, Bemidji State 3 (UND wins shootout)

UND 0 3 0 0 -- 3

BSU 2 1 0 0 -- 3

First period -- 1, BSU GOAL, Lewandowski (Rosén, Armour), 4:06; 2, BSU GOAL, Martin (Roed, Rosén), 16:49, PP.

Second period -- 3, UND GOAL, Ness (Caulfield), 2:25; 4, BSU GOAL, Roed (Pickering, Jutting), 2:54; 5, UND GOAL, Blake (Gaber), 4:28; 6, UND GOAL, Farmer (Kleven, James), 18:37.

Third period -- No scoring.

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Overtime – No scoring.

Shootout – UND wins 2-0.

Saves -- Sholl (BSU) 28; Hellsten (UND) 18.

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Bemidji State junior Eric Martin (11) moves to the net during a shootout against North Dakota on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji State sophomore Jere Vaisanen (16) controls the puck during the third period against North Dakota on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / 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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