MADISON, Wis. (Kohl Center) – Trailing the University of Wisconsin 3-0 midway though the second period, the Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team used an Aaron McLeod (Sr., F, Ottawa, Ontario) power-play goal late in the period to ignite a comeback attempt. The Beavers would climb to within a goal, 3-2, but would run out of time and dropped the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) contest to the Badgers Saturday night at Kohl Center.
The 3-2 victory gave the Badgers three points on the weekend and series victory extending the Beavers’ winless streak to 12 games (0-9-3).
Bemidji State found itself in an early hole giving up a pair of first-period goals.
The Badgers first goal came on a misplayed puck by BSU goaltender Mathieu Dugas (Sr., L’Assumption, Quebec) at the 6:24 mark of the first period. The Beavers’ goalie left the crease, but wasn’t able to collect the puck and got stuck behind the net. Brad Navin corralled the puck and centered a pass to Keegan Meuer for a tap into the open net.
Wisconsin extended its lead to 2-0 on a Brendan Woods’ one-timer in the slot from Michael Mersch at the 12:06 mark of the first.
Despite the shots being even at 7-7, the Badgers took a two-goal advantage into the first intermission.
The Badgers stretched their lead to three goals at the 10:57 mark of the second period when Kevin Schulze buried a mishandled puck by Dugas.
The goal signaled an end to the night for Dugas after 30:57 of play. Andrew Walsh (So. Dawson Creek, British Columbia) replaced the senior.
Seeking its first power-play goal since Jan. 5, the BSU got a chance on the man advantage at the 17:06 mark of the second session. After misfiring on their previous 19 power-play opportunities, it took the Beavers just 15 seconds to convert tonight. Danny Mattson (So., F, Minneapolis, Minn.) found McLeod in the slot for his team-leading 11th goal of 2012-13.
Bemidji State took momentum into the locker room at the second intermission and came out to open the third buzzing. The Beavers out shot Wisconsin 7-3 in the session and just 3:14 into the final frame, BSU’s leading scorer, Brance Orban (Sr., F, Lethbridge, Ontario), cut the deficit in half. Fellow senior David Boehm (F, Naples, Fla.) threw the puck toward the net and Orban redirected a shot that trickled into the back of the net.
BSU continued to apply pressure down the stretch. With seven minutes to play Boehm capped a great opportunity by ringing a shot off the pipe and was immediately escorted to the box after being called for tripping why trying to hold the zone.
The BSU penalty-kill unit again stood tall snuffing the Badgers’ fourth power-play opportunity of the evening, but BSU would never regain its momentum surge. With 1:33 to go in the game, BSU Head Coach Tom Serratore elected to pull Walsh for an extra attacker. The Beavers managed to maintain pressure, but failed to record a shot on goal and the rally fell short.
Bemidji State finished the night 1-for-2 on the power play, while its penalty-kill unit was perfect, holding the Badgers scoreless on four opportunities (0-for-4).
For the first time since Jan. 19, BSU was not out shot in the game. The teams completed the night with shots even at 20-20.
Dugas was tagged with the win after getting the start and allowing all three of the Badgers’ goals. He finished the night with seven saves and falls to 1-7-2. Walsh was perfect in relief, turning aside all 10 saves he face in the final 27:30 of action.
The Beavers are now 0-6-1 versus the Badgers all-time with a 0-3-1 mark in games played on UW’s home ice.
Bemidji State, now 5-17-6 overall and 4-13-5 in the WCHA, returns to Sanford Center for a WCHA series versus University of Minnesota Duluth Feb. 15-16. The series will get underway at 7:37 p.m. Friday with the scheduled or a 7:07 p.m. opening faceoff.