Throughout his career at the University of Minnesota Duluth, senior forward Jake Hendrickson has contributed more on the defensive side of the game than he has on the scoresheet.
But in UMD's Western Collegiate Hockey Association series opener against Bemidji State University on Friday night -- and game No. 500 for coach Scott Sandelin behind the UMD bench -- Hendrickson not only played his usual role a defensive specialist, he added "goal scorer" to the fold, notching a pair of tallies to help the Bulldogs to a 4-2 win over the Beavers in front of 6,366 at AMSOIL Arena.
The two-goal effort was the second such outing of Hendrickson's career (the other came in 5-2 win over the University of Maine in the NCAA Northeast Regional last March), and it gave the veteran middleman his ninth and 10th goals as a Bulldog.
It also sparked the Bulldogs when they needed it most - in the key minutes at the start or end of periods.
With time winding down in the opening period, Hendrickson knocked down a loose puck, gathered it on his stick and bounced a shot off Bemidji State goalie Mathieu Dugas' leg to give UMD a 1-0 lead.
Then, after the Beavers managed to tie the score in the middle period, Hendrickson took a drop pass from linemate Keegan Flaherty, walked around a Bemidji State defenseman and roofed a shot to give the Bulldogs the lead for good.
For the night, Hendrickson's line - complete with Flaherty and senior captain Cody Danberg - compiled five points, five shots and a cumulative plus-eight rating.
"We really controlled the puck down low in the offensive zone and did a good job of working it around and getting pucks to the net," Hendrickson said. "In the second period, they took it to us a little bit. In the third, it was more supporting each other, getting out of our defensive zone, getting it deep and getting back to work."
Rookie netminder Matt McNeely was again rock-solid in goal, turning away 21 shots to boost his record to 3-4-1.
Joe Basaraba and Flaherty recorded the other UMD goals, setting the stage for the Bulldogs (5-7-3 overall, 3-5-3 WCHA) to finish of their first sweep of the 2012-13 campaign.
"I think we have to play like we did in the first and the third (to win tomorrow night)," Hendrickson said. "We have to come out and play our game, not let them dictate the play and just put pucks on net and keep getting to the goalie."