ANCHORAGE- Two first-period goals by Bemidji State's Jordan George lifted the Beavers over the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, 2-1 in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game on Friday evening in the teams' first meeting at the Sullivan Arena.
Bemidji State (16-16-3, 10-14-3 WCHA) which now leads the all-times series record 2-1, opened the scoring with back-to-back goals by George in the first before sophomore Andrew Pickering brought the game within one with four minutes left in the frame. The Seawolves (9-22-2, 5-21-1 WCHA) battled for control in the final 40 minutes of play, but were unable to find the equalizer.
George gave the Beavers a two-goal lead with a pair of goals at 7:46 and at 13:57 of the opening stanza with his team leading 17th and 18th of the season. Junior Aaron McLeod assisted on both tallies.
A forward from West Vancouver, B.C., Pickering cut the deficit in half with his first collegiate goal and point. Pickering deflected the shot of rookie Sam Mellor, getting by BSU netminder Dan Bakala at 16:05 of the frame. Junior Tyler Currier was credited with the second helper.
In the final attempt to knot the game, the Seawolves pulled goaltender Chris Kamal with 1:13 left in regulation, but couldn't capitalize with the man advantage.
The Seawolves killed three minor penalties in the second period, including two boarding calls on junior forward Daniel Naslund, while Bemidji State didn't receive any infractions throughout the entire game. BSU was scoreless on three power-play attempts.
UAA was without junior defenseman and assistant captain Scott Warner, who suffer an ankle injury in practice this week. Warner joins freshman Derek Docken, who has missed the last three games with a shoulder injury.
The Seawolves will be heading to Mariucci Arena for the second straight season for the WCHA First Round Playoffs when they face the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a best-of-three series on March 9-10, and March 11, if necessary. Last season, UAA earned just its second ever WCHA Final Five berth with a sweep of the Gophers in the First Round.
Minnesota has yet to clinch the MacNaughton Cup outright, but due to a Minnesota Duluth loss tonight at St. Cloud State, the Gophers hold the tie-breaker for the No. 1 seed.
The Seawolves and the Beavers will rematch on Saturday evening at 7:07 p.m. AST. The night will also double as Senior Night, as UAA honors four seniors playing in their final game at the Sullivan Arena.