MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Mariucci Arena) -- Matt Read (Sr., F, Ilderton, Ontario) scored two goals, Jordan George (So., F, Madison, Wis.) added a goal and an assist, while Dan Bakala (Jr., G, Calgary, Alberta) turned away 30 of 31 shots to lead the Bemidji State University men's ice hockey team to a 3-1 victory over No. 14 Union College Saturday at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. The victory came on the heels of a 3-2 win over Ferris State University Friday and earned the Beavers the 2010-11 Mariucci Classic title.
"Its always nice to win a championship and get some hardware," said BSU Head Coach Tom Serratore. "We played a good third period and I guess that was the most gratifying thing to me."
Just 24 hours removed from allowing its first round opponent, Ferris State University, a pair of third period goals and let a 2-0 lead slip to 3-2 3-2 lead with just 61 seconds to play, Bemidji State buckled down in the final frame this afternoon. The team killed two penalties late and defended en extended extra attacker situation to protect a 3-1 lead and escape with a two goal victory.
For the 11th time in Bemidji State's 18 games of 2010-11, the Beavers were first to score and for the sixth time this season, BSU has scored on its first shot on net.
Just 5:27 after the opening face off, Read gathered the puck behind the net, skated around the left circle and fired a shot from the high slot to put the Beavers up 1-0. Ian Lowe (Sr., F, Bradwardine, Manitoba) and Sam Rendle (Fr., D, Grand Rapids, Minn.) were credited with assists on the senior's eighth goal of the season.
But an offense averaging 3.72 goals per game can only be held at bay for so long and the Dutchmen bounced back to even the score, 1-1, before the first period concluded. With Read in the penalty box, the Beavers were unable to clear the puck out of the slot and Daniel Carr settled the puck and flipped an unassisted shot over the shoulder of Bakala with just 11 seconds remaining on UC's second power-play opportunity of the game.
Despite being out shot 20-11 after 40 minutes of play, BSU took a 2-1 lead into the locker rooms at the second intermission.
Rendle recorded the first multi-point effort of his collegiate career as he contributed to the Beavers' second goal of the afternoon. The freshman defender stepped in front of a Union centering pass before starting the scoring play with a rink-wide pass to George. The Madison, Wis. native then carried the puck into the zone, skated to a stop in the slot and deposited a shot low on the stick side of the net.
The goal was George's ninth of the season and increased the forward's team lead in scoring to 19 points (9-10=19).
The Beavers dominated play to open the third period and lit the lamp at the 1:58 mark to stretch their lead to 3-1.
Union's Shawn Stuart was whistled for a penalty just 1:21 into the fame serving up a man advantage opportunity for Read and a BSU power-play unit seeking its first special teams marker in more than 10 periods of play. BSU's captain attacked the net from the right face-off circle and threaded a short-side shot high past Keith Kinkaid for his second goal of the game. In addition to providing BSU with some insurance, the marker gave Read his team-high third multi-goal game of the season, while Emil Billberg (Sr., F, Stockholm, Sweden) and George turned in passes for assists on the scoring play.
For the second straight game, Bakala made 30-or-more saves and improved to 6-6-0 on the season with the victory. In 60 minutes between the pipes, the junior turned away 30-of-31 Dutchmen scoring attempts and backstopped a penalty-kill unit that snuffed out 4-of-5 power-play chances of a special teams unit that came into the game leading the nation by scoring on 34 percent of is man advantage opportunities. On the flip side, BSU was 1-for-2 on the power play.
The win is the first for BSU over Union in six all-time meetings, while Union continues to own a 2-1-3 advantage in the series that got its start during the 2000-01 campaign.
"I thought it was important for us to get out of the blocks well this weekend to start the second half of the season. Hopefully we can turn this into a good weekend next weekend before we get back into conference play."
Bemidji State, which has now won five of its last seven contest and is 6-10-1 on the season, continues non-conference play Jan. 7-8 as it rekindles one of its most storied rivalries over the past 20 years making a trip to Huntsville, Ala. to face University of Alabama-Huntsville. The two-game set featuring former College Hockey America (CHA) foes is set to get underway at 7:05 p.m. Friday and will conclude after a 3:05 p.m. affair Saturday at the Von Braun Center.