HOUGHTON, Mich. - Michigan Tech and Bemidji State skated to a 2-2 overtime tie at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena tonight in WCHA hockey. The Huskies scored twice early in the third period for a 2-1 lead, but the Beavers tied the score and held Tech at bay in the overtime.
Despite a 14-5 advantage in shots on goal and four power plays for Michigan Tech in the first period, it was Bemidji that scored the game's first goal. It came midway through the second period as Cory Ward took a centering pass and buried a point blank shot over Pheonix Copley's shoulder. The goal was the first power-play marker surrendered by the Huskies since Nov. 23 at Alaska Anchorage.
Tech knotted the game 2:18 into the third period as Brent Baltus' pass intended for Blake Hietala deflected off a defenseman's leg to the stick of Daniel Holmberg. The senior tucked his shot inside the left post for his first goal of the season.
With Holmberg's marker still being announced over the public address, C.J. Eick tallied another Tech goal. The sophomore dropped it off to line mate Mike Neville, then got it back inside the right circle where he quickly fired on net. The shot hit the post, but bounced off goaltender Jesse Wilkins' leg hard enough to carom back into the cage.
The one-goal lead lasted little more than three minutes. Tech was buzzing inside the BSU zone, when defenseman Cliff Watson's stick broke on a one-timer attempt. Ward took advantage of the fortunate bounce. He picked up the loose puck, skated down and scored his second of the night on a wrist shot from atop the left circle.
The Huskies went on to out-shoot the Beavers 9-5 in the third period and 5-2 in overtime, but could not get the game winner.
Tech finished with a 38-21 advantage in shots on goal, but did not convert on six power-play opportunities. Bemidji State was 1-for-3 on the man advantage.
"It was a good game overall," said head coach Mel Pearson. "I was happy with our energy and how we came off the trip to Alaska. We didn't score off our best chances, but got some secondary scoring and got the tie. We obviously wanted two points, but we got the one and it's important to keep getting points in the league standings."
Copley finished with 19 saves on a night when he went long stretches between shots faced. Wilkins, playing in his first collegiate game, stopped 36-of-38 including eight on Tech's six power plays.
"We need to get our power play in order," added Pearson. "We had opportunities to do things in the first period and just didn't.
"Overall, there's not a lot separating these two teams. We played a solid game, but need to be better tomorrow."
The teams will wrap up their only series against each other this season tomorrow. The Huskies (6-8-3 overall, 4-3-2 WCHA) will be looking to catch the second-place Beavers (5-8-4, 5-4-2 WCHA) in the league standings. Faceoff is set for 7:07 p.m.