BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- The Bemidji State University men's ice hockey team scored twice in the first 45 seconds to grab an early 2-0 lead in its first ever meeting with the University of Alaska Anchorage, but the Seawolves rallied for a pair of third-period markers to edge the Beavers, 5-4, Friday at the Sanford Center.
Matt Read (Sr., F, Ilderton, Ontario) scored two goals, including his team-leading fifth of the season to give the Beavers a 3-2 lead midway through the second frame, but UAA responded with three consecutive goals put the Seawolves up 5-3 with 4:40 to play. Despite a goal by Radoslav Illo (Fr., F, Bystrica, Slovakia) late in the period, a comeback was not in the cards for the Beavers and UAA skated off with the one-goal Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory.
"It's a different type of game when you have all that scoring in the first minute and a half," said Head Coach Tom Serratore. "We had a two goal lead early, but gave one up 45 seconds later and the momentum changed from there."
"Ultimately, the difference in the game was that they out special teamed us 2-1."
The Beavers potted a power-play goal for the third consecutive game, finishing 1-for-4 on the man advantage, but allowed the Seawolves to score on 2-of-4 power-play opportunities, marking the fourth game in 2010-11 that BSU has allowed multiple special teams goals.
Just 27 seconds into the game, BSU's Sam Rendle (Fr., D, Grand Rapids, Minn.) opened the scoring by garnering the first goal of his collegiate career dribbling a rebound off a UAA defender and across the goalline. Fifteen seconds later, Read found the back of the net with help from Jordan George (So., F, Madison, Wis.) and Brad Hunt (Jr., D, Ridge Meadows, British Columbia) to put BSU up 2-0 after just 42 seconds of play.
The Seawolves bounced back with a goal at the 1:27 mark when Daniel Naslund pushed the puck five hole on BSU goaltender Dan Bakala (Jr., Calgary, Alberta), but the Beavers would cruise into the first intermission owning a 2-1 lead.
Alaska Anchorage got its second power-play opportunity of the night at the 2:23 mark of the second period and would need just 55 seconds to capitalize. After an initial save, Matt Bailey stuffed the first of his two power-play tallies on the night across the line at the 3:18 mark knotting the score at 2-2. After a Read goal on the man advantage put the Beavers up 3-2, Sean Wills tied the game, 3-3, on an even-strength goal with 4:49 left in the frame.
The Seawolves opened the third period on the man advantage and turned the special teams chance into a goal just 26 seconds in on Bailey's second marker.
Fifteen minutes later, UAA would get the eventual game-winner off the stick of Brett Cameron (15:20).
Illo's goal at the 15:46 mark, the freshman's first point in the green and white, rejuvenated the Sanford Center crowd and BSU bench, but the big, physical Seawolves packed in their defensive effort in the game's final minutes and the Beavers' rally fell short.
UAA's Rob Gunderson posted 26 saves in 59:52 between the pipes, allowing four goals in the victory, while Bakala was tagged with the loss after turning away 18 Alaska Anchorage shots conceding all five UAA goals.
Bemidji State (1-5-1; 1-5-1 WCHA) will attempt to salvage a series split tomorrow when its hosts the same Alaska Anchorage (1-5-2; 1-3-1 WCHA) team. The series finale is set for a 7:07 p.m. opening face off at Sanford Center.