BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- Nick Bjugstad scored just 20 seconds into overtime to lift University of Minnesota over Bemidji State University in Saturday's regular-season finale at Sanford Center. The overtime-winner capped a two goal night for Bjugstad and a three-goal comeback for the Golden Gophers.
The Beavers built a 2-0 lead late in the second period and would take a 2-1 advantage into the third, but for the first time since Jan. 18, 2008, BSU was defeated when the team took a lead into the finial 20 minutes to play. Minnesota would battle back to even the score late in the final frame and went on to capture the overtime win.
Bemidji State got goals from Jeff Jubinville (Fr., F, Edmonton, Alberta) and Aaron McLeod (So., F, Ottawa, Ontario), while junior goaltender Dan Bakala (Calgary, Alberta) posted a career-high 44 saves in the loss.
In a fast paced first period that saw a total of 27 shots on goal, 14 for Minnesota and 13 for BSU, Jubinville got the Beavers to the locker room at the first intermission with a one-goal lead. The freshman put BSU up 1-0 with the second goal of his career at 14:40, capping a set of nifty passes from Darcy Findlay (Jr., F, Bristol, Quebec) and Drew Fisher (Jr., F, International Falls, Minn.) with a wrist shot from the top of the crease that snuck past the outstretched glove Minnesota's goaltender Kent Patterson.
Bemidji State extended its lead to two goals at the 14:41 mark of the second period on a home ice bounce.
A Gopher defenseman attempted to pass the puck behind his own net sending the Beavers retreating on defense, The puck was deflected to the slot after hitting a discarded stick and McLeod made a nice move to beat Patterson. He placed his fifth goal of the season just inside the left post.
Minnesota cut the Beavers' lead to one on a goal from Nick Bjugstad with 2:08 left in the second period.
As the third period got underway, the Gophers established the tempo and had the Beavers on their heels. Minnesota out shoot BSU 16-7 and Mike Hoeffel slipped the puck past Bakala to tie the game at 2-2 with 5:19 left on the clock.
The teams matched blow-for-blow in the final minutes of the period, but were held scoreless forcing the Beavers to overtime for second consecutive night and 11th game of the season.
Just seconds into the extra frame, Bjugstad fired the puck on the BSU goal from the left face off circle. Bakala got a piece of it and fell on it and into the net. The goal was reviewed, but was awarded to Minnesota as the Golden Gopher bench cleared in celebration.
Minnesota left Bemidji, Minn. owning an 8-1-1 advantage in the all-time series with the Beavers.
Bemidji State finished its inaugural season as members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in 10th place with a record of 12-17-5 overall and a 8-15-5 mark in league play.
The team will wait to learn is postseason fate as the rest of games around the league play out.