BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Despite conceding an early goal, the Bemidji State men’s hockey team scored five unanswered to top Alaska Anchorage, 5-1, in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series opener Friday, Dec. 14, at the Sanford Center.
Aaron Miller (2g-1a), Justin Baudry (1g-2a) and Ross Armour (3a) each recorded three points, tied for the most by a Beaver in a game this season. Baudry has had a hand in seven of the team’s last 11 goals as the defenseman has posted seven points (1g-6a) in the last three games.
Friday’s five goals are the second-most scored by the Beavers (8-7-2, 6-4-1-0 WCHA) this year, behind only November’s 8-3 win over Merrimack.
The BSU power-play unit converted twice and went 2-for-5 on the night with 17 shots. The power play had ranked 47th in the country entering Friday, firing at only 15.25 percent, but the unit took a turn in the right direction.
“Our power play has been struggling so far throughout the year, and it’s always nice to get special team goals,” said Miller, who scored on a 5-on-3 advantage early in the third period. “It helps win games. It’s a big thing. It builds momentum or can give momentum to the other team.”
The penalty kill held the Seawolves (1-13-1, 0-10-1-0 WCHA) scoreless on two power plays.
“It’s a backbreaker,” said BSU head coach Tom Serratore. “You have to live with your special teams, you have to win with your special teams, and we did that tonight.”
The Beavers endured a slow start with Anchorage getting plenty of time in the attacking zone early. That pressure led to the opening goal at 2:36 of the first period as Drake Glover buried a rebound for the 1-0 lead.
“I thought we got better as the game progressed,” Serratore said. “The first 10 minutes were tough on us. I thought it was actually an extension of last Saturday against Huntsville. We didn’t take care of the puck very well.”
BSU soon regained its edge and received the first power play of the night.
Adam Brady leveled the score on the advantage at 12:09 of the frame. A loose puck trickled out to the left dot for the junior to one-time past goalie Kris Carlson for the tying goal.
The Beavers sustained their first-period momentum, and were helped along by power-play opportunities to outshoot UAA, 19-7, in the second period.
Dillon Eichstadt eventually came through for the go-ahead goal 15 minutes, 8 seconds into the middle frame. The senior defenseman one-timed a centering pass in the slot to hand BSU its first lead of the game.
The goal is the second in as many games for the Bemidji native. Eichstadt has now recorded a point in four straight games.
The Beavers began the third with a 5-on-3 advantage, and Miller netted his first goal 44 seconds in for his first goal. The Superior, Wis., native scored his second at 12:51 of the period for a 4-1 lead.
“I felt we had to convert on that 5-on-3 just because we wanted to get to three (goals),” Serratore said, “and that’s a momentum change if we don’t score on the 5-on-3.”
Baudry put a bow on the win with his goal at 14:48 of the period, his first of the season. The senior is now tied for the team lead with 13 points.
The teams will meet again for an early 5:07 p.m. start in today’s series finale. The game is the last for Bemidji State until after Christmas.
“It’s going to be a weird one tomorrow, obviously, because it’s a 5 p.m. start for us,” Miller said. “But I think we just have to come out of the gate flying.”