BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- A Ben Kinne (Sr., F, St. Paul, Minn.) goal 4:03 into the third period lifted the Bemidji State University men's ice hockey team over No. 13 University of Denver 2-1 Saturday at Sanford Center. Jordan George (Jr., F, Madison, Wis.) tallied BSU's other goal and Andrew Walsh (Fr., G, Dawson Creek, British Columbia) turned aside a career-high 36 shots to help the Beavers salvage a series split and improve to 7-9-2 over all and 6-7-2 in WCHA play.
Hard-nosed defensive play, a solid special teams effort and good goaltending, attributes that have become common with the 2011-12 edition of the Beavers, again helped BSU hold one of the most talented frontline in college hockey to one goal and propel the Beavers to victory.
It took the Beavers only 3:26 to take the lead and they would never look back.
George's team-leading 11th goal of the season, assisted by Kinne and Brad Hunt (Sr., D, Ridge Meadows, British Columbia) on the power play, got BSU and opened the floodgates for the BSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's annual Teddy Bear Toss, during which the generous Beaver Hockey fans peppered the ice with over 500 stuffed animals.
With an assist on the play, Hunt surpassed former teammate and Matt Read (2007-2011) to claim the top spot on BSU's Division I-era assist list with 79.
Bemidji State took a 1-0 lead into the third period, a frame that the Beavers have been out scored 23-11 through their first 16 games season.
The Pioneers came out of the second intermission determined to get back into the game.
Junior forward Aaron McLeod (Ottawa, Ontario) denied the Pioneers' on their first legitimate scoring opportunity of the game diving in front of a virtually open net, taking a point-blank shot in the bread basket just 46 seconds into the final period.
At the 4:03 mark the Beavers got a bit of breathing room when Shea Walters (Sr., F, Hibbing, Minn.) found Kinne on his forehand nearing the right post. The senior pushed the puck through DU goaltender Juho Olkinuora's pads to put the Beavers up 2-0.
The Pioneers continued to pressure the Beavers. Aided by a pair of power-play opportunities, DU out shot the Beavers 19-5 in the final 20 minutes. Walsh stood tall making 18 saves.
The Pioneers' only goal of the game came at the 11:47 mark. Daniel Doremus collected a rebound off the shot of David Makowski on the left post that roofed it for his third goal of the season. Despite DU pulling its goaltender with nearly two minutes to pay, that was all the Pioneers could muster as the Beavers clamped down and claimed the win.
Walsh improved to 3-2-1 on the season with the win.
BSU was 1-for-3 on the power-play, while its penalty-kill unit completed the night a perfect 6-for-6 to improve its league best numbers to 66-for-78 (.846.).
The BSU victory was the first ever over Denver. BSU is now 1-9-0 all-time versus the Pioneers in a rivalry dating back to 1967.
Bemidji State (7-9-2; 6-7-2 WCHA) remains home to face long-time rival University of Alabama-Huntsville (1-17-1) Dec. 16-17 before breaking for the holidays. Opening face off for the nonconference series opener is slated for 7:37 p.m. Friday at Sanford Center. The teams will wrap up the two-game set with a 7:07 match up Saturday.