Breakaway goal sinks BSU in overtime loss to Anchorage

BSU sophomore Aaron Miller (16) shoots the puck against Alaska Anchorage goaltender Brody Claeys (1) in Saturday’s game at the Sanford Center. Jillian Gandsey / Forum News Service

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State men’s hockey team suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to Alaska Anchorage on Saturday night, Dec. 15, as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series ended in a split at the Sanford Center.

Jeremiah Luedtke buried a breakaway goal with 1:39 to go in overtime to lift the Seawolves (2-13-1, 1-10-1-0 WCHA) to their first road win of the season.

The Beavers (8-8-2, 6-5-1-0 WCHA) prevailed 5-1 in the first game of the series Friday, but offense was much harder to come by Saturday.

“We knew it was going to be one of those games that was just a battle,” said BSU head coach Tom Serratore. “Last night obviously there was a lot of easy ice and we came out on the better end. There’s never two games that are identical.”

“I thought they changed their game plan,” said senior defenseman Justin Baudry. “They were just moving pucks forward, they were chipping a lot of pucks. There wasn’t a lot of easy ice.”

With under two minutes to play in the first period, Ross Armour fooled half the building into thinking he’d scored, though the puck went off the post.

A moment later, Charlie Combs truly found the back of the net, lifting a shot top shelf from the slot to hand BSU a 1-0 lead going into the intermission.

Anchorage got on the board 3 minutes, 33 seconds into the second period. David Trinkberger flung a long-distance shot that eked past goalie Hank Johnson stick side for the tying goal.

Each team had a pair of power-play opportunities in the third period, but they played to a scoreless frame to set up overtime.

On the game-winner, the Beavers turned the puck over inside the blue line and Luedtke jumped on a pass from Trey deGraaf for the breakaway into the BSU zone. The senior’s goal sent the Seawolves tumbling onto the ice in celebration.

“It’s a tough way to lose,” Serratore said. “It’s a punch in the gut. But there’s nothing you can do right now and we’ve just got to move on from it.”

Neither team converted on the power play. BSU finished 0-for-4 on the advantage, while keeping UAA scoreless on three chances.

For the first time this season, Johnson started in net both games of a series rather than Zach Driscoll making his typical Saturday start. Johnson made 21 saves on 23 shots in the loss as he moved to 5-4-1 for the year.

For Anchorage, Brody Claeys collected 28 saves and earned his second win of the season to improve to 2-3-1.

Saturday’s game marked the end of the season’s first half. The Beavers won’t return to action until a road series against Air Force, Dec. 29-30.

Missed opportunities each of the last two Saturdays are what stands out to Serratore at the season’s halfway point. BSU suffered a similar split last weekend against Alabama Huntsville in dropping the series finale.

“We played a pretty good game, and this was just one of those games that’s just a tough one to lose,” Serratore said. “You’d rather get this game into the 3-on-3 and see what happens from there. These were six points that we had that we left on the table.”