BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- The Bemidji State University men's hockey team scored back-to-back goals to cap the second period and skate into the third tied with Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2-2, but the Mavericks broke the tie with 4:52 to play and would add another to steal a Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory, 4-3, and salvage a series split Saturday at Sanford Center.
Eight different BSU players collected at least a point, with Mitch Cain (F, Jr., Fort Frances, Ontario), Matt Prapavessis (D, Jr., Oakville, Ontario) and Sam Rendle (D, Sr., Grand Rapids, Minn.) accounting for Bemidji State's goals.
The Beavers were whistled for three penalties in the first period and Minnesota State took advantage using a power-play goal to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
At the 3:52 mark of the period Phil Brewer (F, So., Cambridge, Ontario) was sent to the box for interference. Forty-eight seconds later, MSU's Zach Stephan wrapped the puck around the back of the goal and tucked it between the pads of BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh (So., Dawson Creek, British Columbia).
At the conclusion of 20 minutes of play, MSU owned a 1-0 lead and a 9-4 advantage in shots on goal.
MSU stretched it lead to 2-0 7:40 into the second on a goal by Bryce Gervais, but the Beavers came charging back to own the final eight minutes of the period. Cain netted his first goal of the season at the 12:03 mark on a nifty series of passes from Matt Prapavessis (D, Jr., Oakville, Ontario) and Bob Kinne (F, Fr., St. Paul, Minn.). Kinne intercepted an attempted clearing pass by MSU and slid the puck across the top of the slot to Prapavessis. The BSU captain found Cain streaking to the far post for the tap in.
With just 41 seconds left in the frame, Minnesota State's Chase Grant was booked for tripping. BSU took advantage of its second man advantage opportunity of the night on a goal from Graeme McCormack (D, So., Thunder Bay, Ontario). Danny Mattson (F, Jr., Minneapolis, Minn.) and Ruslan Pedan (D, Fr., Moscow, Russia) were credited with assists on the play.
The teams skated to the locker rooms at the second intermission locked in a 2-2 tie with 20 minutes to settle the score.
After 15 minutes of play in the third, the Mavericks finally broke the deadlock with an even-strength goal from Johnny McInnis.
The goal sparked a roller coaster final five minutes.
Before the Beavers had a chance to pull Walsh for an extra attacker, Brewer was sent to the box for slashing.
With 10 seconds to play, MSU got an empty-net goal from Teddy Blueger, but the never-say-die Beavers answered with an extra attacker goal from Rendle with just over a minute to play to bring the score to 4-3.
The BSU penalty-kill unit held Minnesota State scoreless on seven power-play opportunities, while the BSU power-play unit converted 1-of-3 chances, marking its second consecutive game with a man advantage marker.
Walsh finished the night with 27 saves and three goals allowed. He moves to 3-4-1 on the season.
Bemidji State, now 3-4-1 and 3-1-0 in WCHA play will travel to Big Rapids, Mich. to battle league-newcomer Ferris State University. The series is set to get underway with a 6:07 p.m. CST Friday with the series finale slated for a 6:07p.m. opening face off. Both games will be played at Robert L. Ewigleben Ice Arena.