BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- The Bemidji State University men's hockey team battled back from three separate one-goal deficits to skate to a 3-3 tie with University of Alaska Friday evening at Sanford Center.
Junior captain Matt Prapavessis (D, Oakville, Ontario) led the Beavers netting his first collegiate two-goal game, which included an game-tying, extra-attacker goal with just 1:40 left in the third period.
The overtime contest marked the sixth time in the last eight games, BSU has skated in an extra frame, while it stands as the first time in the history of Bemidji State hockey that the team has posted a draw in three consecutive games.
The Nanooks needed just 3:05 to light their side of the scoreboard. When a puck was misplayed behind the Beavers' goal, Matthew Friese corralled the puck in front of the crease and slide his second goal of the season under the pad of BSU goaltender Jesse Wilkins (Fr., Calgary, Alberta).
The Beavers evened the score at the 6:44 mark of the first. Graeme McCormack (So., Thunder Bay, Ontario) fired the puck to Brendan Harms (F, Steinbach, Manitoba) on the sidewall. Harms found BSU's leading goal scorer Cory Ward (F, So., Las Vegas, Nev.) streaking through the neutral zone. Ward ripped a shot from the top of the slot that beat the Alaska goaltender in the right corner.
In a period that saw UA called for three penalties and BSU skate with an extra man for 4:02, it was the Nanooks that grabbed the next lead. BSU turned the puck over in their defensive zone and Shawn Hochhausen made the Beavers pay. He picked up the loose puck and found the back of the net at the 16:07 mark. The goal gave Alaska a 2-1 lead heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
BSU opened the third period with 1:58 remaining in a penalty to UA's Marcus Basara and Prapavessis would net his second goal of 2013-14 just 23 seconds into the stanza. Ward started the play, winning a face off to Phil Marinaccio (F, Fr., Nobleton, Ontario) on the sidewall. Marinaccio found Illo at the top of the right faceoff circle, who in turn, fed Prapavessis alone in the top of the slot.
The score would remain tied until the 8:48 mark of the period when Garrick Perry and Tyler Morley teamed up to create a turnover and skate passed the BSU back line for a 2-on-0 to regain the lead 3-2.
Trailing by a goal with just over two minutes to play, BSU head coach Tom Serratore elected to pull Wilkins for an extra attacker on the offensive zone faceoff. Forty seconds later, its was Ward's faceoff win that set up Prapavessis' game-tying goal. Ward won the faceoff clean to the stick of the BSU captain, who one-timed the draw from the top of the right face off circle.
Pushed to overtime for the third consecutive game, BSU was whistled for two penalties and played 2:22 of the five-minute overtime period short a man.
The BSU penalty-kill unit finished a flawless effort snuffing out all five of the Nanooks' power-play opportunities. On the flip side, the BSU power-play unit was 1-for-6 on the man advantage.
Alaska out shot the Beavers 30-21 in the game, which included a 5-0 edge in the overtime period alone
Wilkins earned the tie in his third career start stopping 27 of 30 UA shots on goal, while surrendering three goals. He moves to 0-0-3 as a Beaver.
Bemidji State (5-8-6; 5-4-4 WCHA) and Alaska (6-8-3; 3-7-1 WCHA) will wrap up the WCHA series and the 2013 portion of the schedule tomorrow night. Opening face off for the match up is slated for 7:07 p.m.
Beaver Hockey fans are encouraged to bring donations of stuffed animals to participate in the Bemidji State Student-Athlete Advisory Council's annual teddy bear toss. At the conclusion of the first period of play, fans will be invited to contribute stuffed animal donations by throwing them onto the ice. All items collected will go directly to local charities and will be distributed to children and residents in the Bemidji area in need this holiday season.
For more information on the Bemidji State men's hockey program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers or @BSUMHockey), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota's wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men's and women's hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).