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Wyatt Kaiser's late goal gives Bulldogs a 1-1 overtime tie in series opener with Bemidji State

The late extra-attacker goal by Wyatt Kaiser brought the Bulldogs back after Bemidji State took a 1-0 lead early in the third period.

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Minnesota Duluth players celebrate after junior defenseman Wyatt Kaiser scored to tie the game 1-1 during the third period against Bemidji State on Friday at the Sanford Center in Bemidji.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — A shot through traffic by junior defenseman Wyatt Kaiser in the closing minutes allowed Minnesota Duluth to pick up a 1-1 overtime tie on Friday at Sanford Center.

The goal and result keeps UMD at .500 this year in nonconference play, 4-4-1 going into the series finale against the Beavers at 6:07 p.m. Saturday at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

“The consistency part of our game needs to be there tomorrow,” sophomore center Dominic James said of UMD’s first regular-season contest of 2023. “We need to beat this team tomorrow. We're a different team this year and the second half. We definitely have to come up with a win tomorrow.”

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Bemidji State sophomore Mattias Sholl (30) makes a diving save during the second period against Minnesota Duluth sophomore Dominic James on Friday at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

The Bulldogs and Beavers went into the third period scoreless, generating a combined 30 shots on goal (17-13 in favor of UMD). The score resurrected memories of the scoreless tie the two teams posted on Oct, 14, 2017 at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

Those fears were quelled by BSU 3:40 into the third period when fifth-year senior transfer wing Kaden Pickering out of St. Lawrence re-directed a shot into the net for a 1-0 Beavers’ lead.

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UMD — which outshot BSU 11-6 in the third and 6-3 in OT — tied the game late with its net empty for an extra attacker as Kaiser fired a puck from the blue line through 10 skaters and a goalie cleanly into the back of the net with 1:55 to play in regulation.

It was an unassisted goal that Kaiser scooped up after a failed Bemidji State clearing attempt.

“I took a few steps to the middle, grabbed it with my hand and dropped it down. I put the puck to my hip, looked up, saw the opening and shot,” said Kaiser, who picked up his third goal of the season Friday. “The guy coming out at me when a little bit out at the puck, where you can kind of see a lane, so you pull it in a little bit more and shoot it right around him. I had a good screen in front that took away the left side of the net, so right side it was.”

Neither team could convert during the 3-on-3 overtime period, meaning the game goes down in the record books as a 1-1 OT tie. The Bulldogs did win an exhibition shootout afterward, 1-0, via a goal by James and three saves by junior goaltender Zach Stejskal.

Stejskal, who grew up 63 miles east down U.S. Highway 2 in Cohasset, finished with 21 saves while Beavers sophomore goalie Mattias Sholl made 33 stops.

“Zach had a great game,” Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said. “He did good in the shootout, too. Give him credit. We didn’t give them a lot, but some of the chances they had were tough, tough chances.

“We got to bear down and capitalize. I don’t think we got enough pucks to the net. Our defensemen need to do a better job. I thought our forwards could have been more engaged with getting pucks there. We’ll try and be better tomorrow.”

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Bemidji State freshman Adam Flammang (8) wraps the puck around the Minnesota Duluth net while fifth-year senior wing Tanner Laderoute and junior goaltender Zach Stejskal defend during the second period on Friday at the Sanford Center in Bemidji.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Sandelin said in the leadup to this weekend’s series that his team needed to be more disciplined when it came to its structure and with taking penalties. He didn’t get it in the penalty department through two periods Friday.

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UMD — whose 12.5 penalty minutes per game was tied for 12th-most nationally — was called for four minor penalties, including a bench minor for too many players 7:25 in. The Bulldogs killed all four penalties, while their only man advantage came via the extra attacker with under two and a half minutes to play.

“They were all penalties. Our killers did their job, our goalie did his job,” Sandelin said. “I haven’t been part of a game this year where we didn’t have a power play, but I’m not arguing about the calls.”

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Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State players fight for the puck during the second period against Bemidji State on Friday at the Sanford Center in Bemidji.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pionee

Matt’s Three Stars

3. BSU sophomore goalie Mattias Sholl — A 33-save night for the Beavers goaltender.

2. BSU fifth-year senior Kaden Pickering — A transfer out of St. Lawrence, Pickering broke the scoreless tie early in the third period, but his goal didn’t stand up.

1. UMD junior defenseman Wyatt Kaiser — A game-saving, game-tying goal with 1:55 left for UMD.

Box score

Minnesota Duluth 0-0-1-0—1
Bemidji State 0-0-1-0—1
First period
No scoring
Second period
No scoring
Third period
1. BSU, Kaden Pickering (Elias Rosen, Will Zmolek), 3:40
2. UMD, Wyatt Kaiser, 18:05 (EA)
Overtime
No scoring.
Saves — Zach Stejskal, UMD, 21; Mattias Sholl, BSU, 33
Power play — UMD 0-0; BSU 0-4. Penalties — UMD 4-8; BSU 0-0.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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