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Kirklan Irey scores 1st career goal as Bemidji State ties Ferris State

“I thought we played great,” Irey said. “We obviously know there's things we can do better, getting to the net being one. But our simplicity in our game was what we liked here tonight.”

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Bemidji State freshman Kirklan Irey (20) moves the puck during the third period against Ferris State on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- Kirklan Irey is new to the college hockey experience. But the Bemidji State men’s hockey team’s freshman forward had a crash course on Friday at the Sanford Center.

Irey scored BSU’s second goal of the game against Ferris State – and the first of his career – to give the No. 20 Beavers a 2-1 lead in the second period, then saw that advantage slip away further into the frame. Later, Bemidji State and the Bulldogs played a scoreless third period and overtime.

Finally, in the shootout, a victor – of sorts – emerged. FSU won the shootout 1-0 to pick up an extra point in the CCHA standings, and the contest officially concluded as a 2-2 tie.

“I thought we played great,” Irey said. “We obviously know there's things we can do better, getting to the net being one. But our simplicity in our game was what we liked here tonight.”

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Bemidji State fifth-year Kaden Pickering (18) shoots the puck during the second period against Ferris State on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Tyler Schleppe opened the scoring for Ferris State with a power-play goal at 15:25 in the first period, capitalizing on Blake Evennou’s perfect stretch pass from the Bulldogs’ own slot. Ross Armour struck back expeditiously with his own score in the slot at 16:23, taking advantage of Mitchell Martan’s takeaway at the Bemidji State offensive blue line. Martan earned the assist on Armour’s goal.

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Irey put the Beavers (3-2-2, 1-0-2 CCHA) on top with his goal at 3:36 in the second period off a rebounded shot from Kaden Pickering. That lead held for longer, but Ferris State (3-4-2, 1-1-1 CCHA) equalized with Austin McCarthy’s power-play score at 8:52.

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Neither team found the back of the net after that, despite a parade of shots on goal for BSU and some tantalizing attempts by the Bulldogs.

“I thought it was a pretty good game,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “I can't ask much more out of our guys. I thought the best player on the ice was their goaltender, and he was the reason that thing went into overtime. He was good.”

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Bemidji State fifth-year Ross Armour (17) shoots the puck to score during the first period against Ferris State on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji State rang up 43 shots on goal to FSU’s 24, prolonging a trend of outshooting its opponents by wide margins this season. That hasn’t always led to wins, but the Beavers liked the way they executed offensively.

“Following pucks on net is what we have learned here early on, and it's been working for us,” said Irey, who scored in that exact manner. “We've been scoring a lot of goals around the net, so just by putting pucks to the net, we're going to have a great opportunity.”

Serratore was especially pleased with Irey’s goal, as well as the teammates that helped set him up for the watershed moment.

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The Beavers battle for the puck in front of the Ferris State net during the second period on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“It was a nice goal by Kirklan,” Serratore said. “Pickering got the puck on the outside. It was a pad pass, and Kirklan was going to the post. The puck came to him, and he was Johnny on the spot. I thought that line played well tonight. I was happy with that whole line tonight, and I was happy for Kirklan to get his first goal.”

As Serratore said, goaltender Logan Stein indeed put forth a stellar effort for Ferris State, stopping 41 of 43 shots faced to preserve the tie. Mattias Sholl saved 22 of 24 shots for BSU.

Bemidji State will match up against the Bulldogs once more at 6:07 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5, back at the Sanford Center.

Ferris State 2, Bemidji State 2 (FSU wins shootout)

FSU 1 1 0 0 -- 2

BSU 1 1 0 0 -- 2

First period -- 1, FSU GOAL, Schleppe (Evennou), 15:25, PP; 2, BSU GOAL, Armour (Martan), 16:23.

Second period -- 3, BSU GOAL, Irey (Pickering, Myers), 3:36; 4, FSU GOAL, McCarthy (MacLaren, Deelstra), 8:52, PP.

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Third period -- No scoring.

Overtime – No scoring.

Shootout – FSU wins 1-0.

Saves -- Sholl (BSU) 22; Stein (FSU) 41.

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Bemidji State freshman Adam Flammang (8) fights for the puck in front of the Ferris State net during the second period on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
110922.S.BP.BSUMHKY Jere Vaisanen.jpg
Bemidji State sophomore Jere Vaisanen (16) fights for the puck during the first period against Ferris State on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
110922.S.BP.BSUMHKY Will Zmolek.jpg
Bemidji State senior Will Zmolek (4) reaches for the puck during the second period against Ferris State on Friday, Nov. 4, 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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