BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- This wasn't how they planed their return to Sanford Center after an absence of nearly two months.
Just one week removed from a three-point weekend versus nationally-ranked University of Nebraska Omaha team in Omaha, Neb. to wrap up an eight game road swing, the Bemidji State University men's ice hockey team retuned to the Robert H. Peters Rink Jan. 21-22 only to be swept by St. Cloud State University (11-11-2; 7-8-1 WCHA). The Huskies capped the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) series by pinning a disappointing 5-1 loss on Beavers to extend their winning streak to six games Saturday.
St. Cloud State scored on three of their first seven shots on goal, building a 3-0 lead during the first 10:03 that would prove to be insurmountable for a shell-shocked Bemidji State team playing in front of a stunned capacity crowd of 4,373.
"You want a better start than that," said BSU head coach Tom Serratore. "It just didn't happen. You are down 3-0 ten minutes into the game and you've obviously dug a pretty big hole for yourself.
"We just didn't manage the puck very well tonight," added Serratore. "(St. Cloud State) has a ton of skill. If you give up out numbered rushes, they will obviously convert every one of them."
SCSU sophomore David Eddy scored a pair of goals and assisted on another to lead the Huskies, while Garrett Roe and Cam Reid each contributed a goal and posted two assists as St. Cloud State handed the Beavers their worst loss of the season.
The 5-1 loss marked the first time BSU has dropped a game by four goals or more since Mar. 27, 2010 when University of Michigan defeated the Beavers by the same score in the 2010 NCAA Tournament's Midwest Regional Semifinal in Fort Wayne, Ind.
"They all sting," commented Serratore about the loss. "They never feel good. You just have to try to block these out. Hopefully this will serve as a wake up call. You just have to try to learn from this type of game."
Trailing 3-0 to open the second stanza, the Beavers played with a bit more urgency and finished the frame out shooting the Huskies 16-10, but St. Cloud State would make it 5-0, on a Jordy Christian tally at the 8:11 mark and Eddy's second goal of the game just over four minutes later (12:35), before the Beavers would find the scoreboard.
After a pair of near misses early in the second, including a point-blank shot that rung off the near post, junior Jamie MacQueen (F, St. Thomas, Ontario) made good on a power-play attempt from the right face-off circle. Shea Walters (Jr., F, Hibbing, Minn.) and Sam Rendle (Fr., D, Grand Rapids, Minn.) were credited with assists on the play as the Beavers cycled the puck around the top of the zone to MacQueen for the open look.
Down 5-1 after 40 minutes of play, the Beavers opted for a goaltending switch putting sophomore Mathieu Dugas (G, L'Assomtion, Quebec) between the pipes. The sophomore held SCSU without a goal for the remainder of the game, but the change didn't translate into the same spark on the offensive end of the rink as the Beavers were also held scoreless in the final 20 minutes of play.
Dan Bakala (Jr., Calgary, Alberta) posted 15 saves before being pulled from the game. He falls to 8-8-1 on the season. Dugas turned away 10 shots in relief.
Each team finished with a power-play goal. BSU's penalty-kill unit allowed a SCSU special teams goal on five man advantage opportunities, while BSU converted one of its three power-play chances.
Although BSU lost a pair of games this weekend, the Beavers maintain a handle on the all-time series with the Huskies. BSU owns a 44-39-3 mark versus St. Cloud State since 1948 despite SCSU winning 18 of the last 21 games between the teams.
Bemidji State, now 9-13-2 overall and 5-11-2 in league play, is idle next week before traveling to Minnesota State University, Mankato Feb. 4-5 for a WCHA series at Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato, Minn. The Mavericks, which are 10-11-4 overall and 4-11-3 in league play for 11th place in the WCHA standings host the Beavers for the two-game set that is slated for a 7:37 p.m. start Friday and a 7:07 p.m. opening face-off Saturday.