SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Jordan George (Jr., F, Madison, Wis.) scored with 41.1 seconds left in overtime to lift the Bemidji State University men's ice hockey team to a 3-2 nonconference victory over No. 13 Lake Superior State University Friday night at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.
Despite being out played for large portions of the first and second periods, the Beavers bucked down late and got the bounce when it mattered escaping with a series-opening victory.
The Beavers hand the Lakers their second loss of the season (7-2-0), while improving to 4-5-0 on the season.
Bemidji State struggled to generate offensive opportunities early, but when the Beavers got a chance, they capitalized. BSU scored on its first shot of the game and would add another goal on its third shot, taking a 2-0 over the nationally-ranked Lakers just 14:51 into the game.
Jamie MacQueen (Sr., F, St. Thomas, Ontario) got the Beavers on the board. He took a deflected shot from end to end for his first goal of the season 4:24 after the opening faceoff.
At the 14:51 mark of the first, Shea Walters (Sr., F, Hibbing, Minn.) netted his fourth goal of 2011-12 when he corralled a loose puck on the back door and put it past the LSSU goaltender to put BSU up 2-0. Darcy Findlay (Sr., F, Bristol, Quebec) and Brad Hunt (Sr., D, Ridge Meadows, British Columbia) were credited with assists on the play.
Trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes of play, the No. 13 Lakers battled back in the second out shooting the Beavers 10-6 and scoring the only goal of the period on a shot from Kevin Czuczman.
Momentum swung in BSU's favor in the third. The Beavers sustained pressure in their offensive zone and created their own opportunities on a regular basis for the first time all night. BSU finished the period with a 12-8 advantage in shots, but at the 6:53 mark of the third, Lake Superior State added another even-strength goal to send the Beavers to overtime for the first time this season. With the score knotted at 2-2 and less than a minute to play in overtime, the Lakers had one of their best scoring opportunities of the night, but Dan Bakala (Sr., G, Calgary, Alberta) stood tall despite playing without his stick. He made the save and swatted the puck out of the crease with his blocker. Brady Wacker (Jr., D, Jansen, Saskatchewan) collected the puck and made a pass to David Boehm (Jr., F, Naples Fla.) which set up the eventual game-winning goal by George.
Bakala finished the night with 24 saves to gain his second victory of 2011-12 and improve to 2-3-0 in the season. He also backstopped a BSU penalty-kill unit which held the Lakers scoreless in three opportunities (0-3).
Kevin Kapalka turned aside 23 BSU shots in the loss. He falls to 7-2-0.
Although BSU won the game, it still trails the Lakers in the all-time series. LSSU continues to hold a 21-17-2 advantage ince the series began in 1966, which includes a 10-9-1 record versus the Beavers in Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.
The Beavers and Lakers will be back at it tomorrow to play the finale of the nonconference series. The opening face off is set for 6 p.m. (CST) at Taffy Abel Arena.