MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Mariucci Arena) -- Dan Bakala (Jr., G, Calgary, Alberta) was nearly flawless, making 35 saves on 37 shots, and saw teammates Matt Carlson (So., D, Grand Forks, N.D.) and Drew Fisher (Jr., F, International Falls, Minn.) net the first goal of their respective collegiate careers as the Bemidji State University men's ice hockey team opened the Mariucci Classic with a 3-2 victory over Ferris State University (9-8-3) Friday afternoon.
Returning from a two week layoff, the Beavers showed no signs of rust, getting a great goaltending effort and a nice wave of secondary scoring to earn the one-goal, non-conference win on the Olympic ice of Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, Minn.
BSU struck first. Carlson, who was trailing on the play, crashed the net from the point, took the a wide shot off the end boards and slid it past an out of position goaltender for his first collegiate goal. After a second look by the officiating crew, the sophomore was awarded the tally and assists were credited to Emil Billberg (Sr., F, Stockholm, Sweden) and Ian Lowe (Sr., F, Bradwardine, Manitoba) on the play.
The marker stood as the first since for BSU since the first period of the Dec. 10 contest at University of Wisconsin--snapping a scoreless streak stretching 127:14.
Bemidji State took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
With the teams playing 4-on-4 midway through the second period (10:32), the Beavers' lead grew to 2-0 on a tremendous display of individual skill by Jordan George (So., F, Madison, Wis.). The sophomore took a pass from Brad Hunt (Jr., D, Ridge Meadows, British Columbia), shook a pair of Bulldog defenseman and got a shot on goal from the slot. Taylor Nelson kicked the initial attempt away, but directed it right to the tape of George who would not be denied again and buried a backhand for his team-leading eight goal of the year.
After being out shot 9-4 in the first period, the Beavers turned the tables on FSU in the second out shooting the Bulldogs 13-9 to trail 18-17 on the shot board, but lead 2-0 where it mattered--on the scoreboard--after 40 minutes of play.
Ferris State came out of the second intermission with something to prove.
The Bulldogs recorded the first five shots of the period and got a deflection off the stick of Aaron Schmit at the 1:44 mark to cut the Beavers' lead in half, 2-1.
Bemidji State bounced back to reclaim a two-goal cushion just 63 seconds later (2:47). Darcy Findlay (Jr., F, Bristol, Quebec) dug the puck out from behind the Beavers' goal and stretched a pass across the rink, off the boards ahead to Brance Orban (So., F, Lethbridge, Alberta). Orban found Fisher in front of the net and the International Falls, Minn. native's first collegiate goal would stand as the eventual game-winner.
Dominating play in the third period, out shooting BSU 19-5 in the frame, the Bulldogs made it interesting getting an extra-attacker goal with 1:01 left in the game. Jordie Johnson got a shot off through traffic that hit Bakala's shoulder and rolled over into the net, but that was all FSU would manage as BSU regrouped and weathered the last 60 seconds to claim the victory.
Bakala's 35-save, 60-minute performance, which included 17 stops in the third period alone, was good enough to lift his 2010-11 record to 5-6-0 on the season.
On the other end of the rink, Ferris State's Nelson recorded 19 saves, but allowed all three BSU goals in 59:28 between the pipes and fell to 0-2-0 on the season.
Despite each team being whistled for three penalties, each team was 0-for-1 on the power-play and special teams figured little into the final outcome.
Despite taking the loss, the Bulldogs own a 5-4-0 advantage in the all-time series with BSU, but the Beavers have now won four of the last six meetings between the teams.
The Beavers, 6-10-1 overall, turn their focus to No. 14 Union College (10-5-3; 3-2-1 ECAC) to open the new year and wrap up the Mariucci Classic.
Bemidji State seeks its first victory versus the Duthchmen (0-2-3) which have met on five other occasions, including the 2000 Mariucci Classic. The match up is set for 4 p.m. tomorrow at Mariucci Arena.