MANKATO -- An extra-attacker goal by the Bemidji State men’s hockey team with 22 seconds remaining forced overtime Thursday night. Minnesota State had the final word, however, and clinched the program’s unprecedented fourth straight MacNaughton Cup with a 4-3 overtime victory in Mankato.
With the goaltender pulled for an extra attacker, Alex Ierullo collected a rebound off the end boards and fired from point-blank range to level the score at 3-3 to send the game to 3-on-3 overtime.
Julian Napravnik netted the winning goal with 51 seconds to play in the extra frame when his shot deflected off a defender. The goal secured the No. 3 Mavericks (16-2-1, 11-0-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) their fourth consecutive WCHA regular season title.
The No. 19 Beavers (9-7-3, 4-4-1 WCHA) scored first, though for only the second time all year, it ultimately didn’t result in a win. BSU entered the night 7-1-2 when it had tallied a game’s first goal.
Tyler Kirkup delivered the 1-0 lead by winning a faceoff draw, grabbing the puck and ripping it past netminder Dryden McKay for the opening tally at 8:44 of the first.
Todd Burgess went five-hole to tie the game at 1-1 following another fruitful first-period faceoff win, this time for the Mavericks at the 14:00 mark in the period.
A pair of goals in 45 seconds propelled MSU to a 3-1 advantage within the first 1:42 of the second period.
Brendan Furry scored on a backhander for the initial goal and Andy Carroll extended the gap to two goals less than a minute later.
Bemidji State would not concede another goal the rest of regulation.
BSU got a goal back when Ethan Somoza collected a puck in the high slot and fired it into the net to cut the deficit to 3-2 late in the second period.
The Beavers were held scoreless on three power-play chances, including one late in the third period.
Minnesota State earned its lone power play shortly thereafter when goaltender Zach Driscoll was called for tripping with 3:04 to go in the third. Penalty killed, Driscoll was pulled for the extra attacker with about 40 seconds remaining, a move that would lead to Ierullo’s equalizer.
Napravnik’s overtime goal brought on the celebrations and the MacNaughton Cup for the Mavericks, winners of the trophy for the sixth time in program history.
In a sign of how heated the rivalry between the in-state schools can get, BSU head coach Tom Serratore walked across the ice and exchanged words with the officials after the game.
MSU outshot the Beavers 29-26. Driscoll totaled 25 saves to McKay’s 23 stops.
The home-and-home series will shift north Saturday, Feb. 27, for a 6:07 p.m. contest at the Sanford Center.
No. 3 Minnesota State 4, No. 19 Bemidji State 3 (OT)
BSU 1 1 1 0 -- 3
MSU 1 2 0 1 -- 4
First period -- 1, BSU, Kirkup (unassisted), 8:44; 2, MSU, Burgess (Jaremko), 14:00.
Second period -- 3, MSU, Furry (Livingstone, Zmolek), 0:57; 4, MSU, Carroll (Lutz, Burgess), 1:42; 5, BSU, Somoza (Jubenvill, Harris), 16:14.
Third period -- 6, BSU, Ierullo (Miller, Rosén), 19:38.
Overtime -- 7, MSU, Napravnik (Smith), 4:09.
Goalies (saves-shots) -- BSU, Driscoll (25-29); MSU, McKay (23-26).