BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- Backed by a 20-save effort by freshman goaltender Andrew Walsh (Dawson Creek, British Columbia), the Bemidji State University men's ice hockey team served the University of Alabama-Huntsville a 3-0 loss Friday night at Sanford Center.
In a game decided by sharp goaltending, solid defense and a good penalty-kill effort, BSU got goals from three different players, en route to its 16th win in the last 20 meetings versus UAH (16-2-2).
Both BSU and UAH struggled out of the gates to find enough ice to generate any offensive pressure and finished the first period of play tied 0-0.
The Beavers broke the scoreless tie 3:17 into the second period on an delayed penalty goal. Jake Areshenko (Jr., D, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia) netted his second goal of the season on a slap shot from the point. Mitch Cain (Fr., F, Fort Francis, Ontario) started the play dumping the puck into the corner. Brady Wacker (Jr., D, Jansen, Saskatchewan) dug the puck out of the corner and skated it around the back of the net before finding Areshenko on the blue line. The alternate captain wound up and fired a bullet toward the net that was redirected off the stick of a Charger defender and past the UAH goaltender Clarke Saunders at the 3:17 mark.
After snuffing out a pair of UAH power-plays in the opening period, the BSU penalty-kill unit was put to the test at the 7:13 mark of the second. Areshenko was whistled for a checking from behind penalty that sent him to the dressing room early and left the Beavers short handed for the next five minutes. Just as it has over the course of the lest three games, the unit kept its opponent at bay negating the man advantage and keeping UAH off the scoreboard.
The success of the penalty-kill unit recharged the Sanford Center crowd and the BSU bench. Just 3:40 later (15:53), senior forward Shea Walters (Hibbing, Minn.) gave the Beavers a 2-0 cushion. The senior flicked his eighth goal of the season to the corner of the net after Brance Orban (Jr., F, Lethbridge, Alberta) found him in the slot with a pass.
Matt Prapavessis (Fr., D, Oakville, Ontario) was also credited with an assist on the play.
Both teams ramped up the pace to open the third period.
Tied at 14 shots apiece though the first 40 minutes, the Beavers out shot the Chargers 10-6 in the final period, potting an open-net goal off the stick of Ben Kinne (Jr., F, St. Paul, Minn.) at the 18:54 mark to put the game out of reach and settle the score at 3-0.
Walsh improved to 4-2-1 in 2011-12 with the win, as he extended his unbeaten streak to three games (2-0-1).
In addition to his 20 saves, the rookie served as the last line of defense for a penalty-kill unit that was a perfect 5-for-5 on the night.
Saunders finished the night stopping 21 of 23 shots faced. He falls to 1-13-1 on the season.
The victory allows the Beavers to build upon its lead in the series. Since the rivalry began in 1994, BSU is 37-28-4, while it has not lost a game to the Chargers on its home ice since a Feb. 17, 2007 4-3 loss at the John S. Glas Fieldhouse--a streak spanning 10 games (10-0-0).
BSU is now 3-2-0 in nonconference play this season.
Bemidji State (8-9-2) and Alabama-Huntsville (1-18-1) complete the nonconference series tomorrow. Opening faceoff is slated or 7:07 p.m. at Sanford Center.