BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- No. 13 University of Denver used two goal in the final eight minutes of regulation to get past the Bemidji State University men's hockey team 3-2 Friday night in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) action at Sanford Center. After second period goals from Shea Walters (Sr., F, Hibbing, Minn.) and Jamie MacQueen (Sr., F, St. Thomas, Ontario), the Beavers took a 2-1 lead into the third but the DU duo of Jason Zucker and Drew Shore posted goals late in the third period to doom BSU's hope of an upset.
After an evenly-play, scoreless first period the Pioneers came out of the first intermission to grab the game's first lead. Jason Zucker put the Pioneers in front at the 3:16 mark on his ninth goal of the season. Drew Shore and Ty Loney were credited with assists on the play.
The Beavers responded 4:42 later with a goal off the stick of Walters. The lamplighter knotted the score at 1-1, reignited the Sanford Center crowd of 3,229 and swung momentum in favor of BSU.
Aided by a pair of DU penalties, the Beavers controlled play for the majority of the second period. MacQueen potted his third goal of the season (16:13) with help from Jeff Jubinville (So., F, Edmonton, Alberta) and Jake Areshenko (Jr., D, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia), his career-high second helper of the game, to send BSU into the third period holding a 2-1 advantage.
Bemidji State out shot the Pioneers 7-3 in the first 10 minutes of the third period and seemed to have the DU right where they wanted it, but in the blink of an eye everything changed. BSU goaltender Dan Bakala (Sr., G, Calgary, Alberta) played a puck behind his net, but it bounced off a teammate's skate in front of the crease and a vacated net and Zucker tapped in his second goal of the game to even the score at 2-2 with 7:09 to play.
The Beavers were never able to recover.
Shore netted the game-winner at the 15:48 mark as Denver escaped with the 3-2 lead.
Bakala turned aside 25 Denver shots, but allowed three goals and was tagged with the loss. He falls to 4-6-1 on the season.
At the other end, DU goaltender Juho Olkinuora stopped 21 of 23 BSU shots to claim the second victory of his collegiate career. He is now 2-3-2 on the season.
BSU finished 0-for-2 on the power-play, while its penalty-kill unit also held DU scoreless on its only two man advantage opportunities.
The DU victory preserves undefeated record versus Bemidji State as the Pioneers improve to 9-0-0 in the series dating back to 1967.
Bemidji State (6-9-2; 5-7-2 WCHA) will attempt to return the favor tomorrow and salvage a series split when the Beavers host the Pioneers (7-5-3; 5-3-3 WCHA) to wrap up the WCHA series. Opening face off is slated for 7:07 p.m. at Sanford Center.
The BSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will be holding a teddy bear toss during Saturday's series finale. Fans are encouraged to bring teddy bears or other stuffed animals, wrapped in a clear plastic bag, to the men's and women's hockey games. When the Beavers score their first goal of each game, those in attendance will have an opportunity to toss their teddy bear donation(s) onto the Sanford Center ice.
Bemidji State faithful are also encouraged to bring winter hats, mittens, gloves and/or other cold weather gear to contribute to at the main gate as they enter men's or women's hockey games at the Sanford Center Saturday.
All items collected will go directly to local charities and will be distributed to children and Bemidji area residents in need this holiday season.
SAAC is comprised of student-athlete leaders from each of BSU's 15 varsity athletic programs. In addition to the Teddy Bear Toss and Hat and Mitten Drive, the organization plans several other civic-minded projects throughout the year as well as being a student-athlete voice within the structure of the NCAA and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).