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Bemidji State's sweep dreams shattered as Northern Michigan races away with win

One day after a complete, impressive 4-0 win over Northern Michigan, the Beavers were hungry for more on Saturday night at the Sanford Center. But the Wildcats had plenty to say about that.

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The Beavers battle for the puck during the second period against Northern Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State men’s hockey team was yearning for its first regulation sweep of the year.

One day after a complete, impressive 4-0 win over Northern Michigan, the Beavers were hungry for more on Saturday night at the Sanford Center.

But the Wildcats had plenty to say about that. Energized by a desire to bounce back, NMU sank its claws deep into BSU, scoring in each period en route to an easy 5-2 win over the home team.

“It was a different game,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “It was a very interesting game tonight. … But overall, I got no beef with the way we played. Our guys played hard. I thought we played good. I mean, we had great looks on the power play, we just didn't convert. Probably should have had a little more traffic in front of (NMU goaltender Beni Halasz). But by and large, I got no beef with our guys. I thought we played a good hockey game.”

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The Beavers fight for the puck during the first period against Northern Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Northern Michigan (12-12, 8-8 CCHA) got on the board first with Connor Eddy’s goal at 11:32 in the first period. Then, to commence the second period, the Beavers (10-9-5, 8-5-3 CCHA) killed off two nearly consecutive power plays for a total of seven minutes. Bemidji State managed to get out of that conundrum, but not the one that followed.

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After generating a number of great looks in front of the Wildcats’ net, BSU conceded two consecutive goals to NMU in a 22-second span. Artem Shlaine scored first at 16:03, then Aiden Gallacher added Northern Michigan’s third at 16:25. The Beavers were in deep trouble just like that.

“Those two goals, they were backbreakers. There's no question,” Serratore said. “... We had great looks, and if we had popped one of those, it's a different world. … I don't want to make excuses. The bottom line was they were two rush goals. And they're a rush offense team, and that's on us. We practiced it all week.”

AJ Vanderbeck added a goal on a breakaway at 5:56 in the third period, essentially sealing the outcome. Elias Rosén got Bemidji State’s first goal of the contest at 11:14 in the third.

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Bemidji State senior Elias Rosén (28) looks to pass the puck during the first period against Northern Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Each team scored once during a late BSU power play. Aiden Gallcher scored a shorthanded empty-netter at 17:39 after the Beavers had pulled Mattias Sholl, then Ross Armour got it back at 18:28. But that was the last Bemidji State score, and it wasn’t nearly enough.

“We did a lot of good things,” Serratore said. “The bottom line is that it breaks down to two or three plays. And that's what’s weird, but that's how you score goals. Just like us last night, it's a couple plays. That's what it boils down to. So overall, the guys, there was a lot of good hockey over the course of 60 minutes. That's how I’ve got to gauge our guys. That's how I’ve got to judge the game.”

Sholl finished with 17 saves in net for Bemidji State, while NMU’s Halasz collected 35.

The Beavers return to the ice against Lake Superior State on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Northern Michigan 5, Bemidji State 2

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NMU 1 2 2 -- 5

BSU 0 0 2 -- 2

First period -- 1, NMU GOAL, Eddy (Zinger, Frye), 11:32.

Second period -- 2, NMU GOAL, Shlaine (Larson, Papp), 16:03; 3, NMU GOAL, Gallacher (Ghantous, Vanderbeck), 16:25.

Third period -- 4, NMU GOAL, Vanderbeck (Keefer), 5:56; 5, BSU GOAL, Rosén (Pickering, Zmolek), 11:14; 6, NMU GOAL, Gallacher (Shlaine), 17:39, SH, EN; 7, BSU GOAL, Armour (Jones, Rosén), 18:28, PP.

Saves -- Sholl (BSU) 17; Halasz (NMU) 35.

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Bemidji State freshman Lleyton Roed (29) moves to the net during the second period against Northern Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji State fifth-year Ross Armour (17) moves the puck during the first period against Northern Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji State senior Carter Jones (9) takes control of the puck during the third period against Northern Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, 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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