BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) - Bemidji State University and University of North Dakota teams locked horns Friday for the front end of a home-and-home nonconference men's hockey series and treated a sold out Sanford Center crowd to a 1-1 overtime draw--college hockey at its finest.
Despite being outshot 43-15 in the game, BSU capitalized on its opportunities and assembled a solid defensive effort backed by its goaltender to offset the speed and offensive effort of UND.
The teams traded blows during the first period, but the visitors from North Dakota had the Beavers on their heels early. UND closed the first period with a 16-4 edge in shots on goal, but thanks to nine blocked shots and 16-save frame by BSU's Andrew Walsh (G, Jr., Dawson Creek, British Columbia), the teams skated into the first intermission locked in a scoreless tie.
BSU opened the second period with 1:28 of time on the man advantage, but was unable to convert. Instead it was North Dakota, which took the first lead of the game when Drake Caggiula found Rocco Grimaldi in front of the net at the 6:42 mark.
Although the team trailed by a goal, BSU began to tame the hectic pace and hold its own offensively midway through the period.
The Beavers battled back to even the score with just 1:45 left in the second on a play that summarized the hard-nosed effort of BSU. Brendan Harms (F, Fr., Steinbach, Manitoba) created a turnover in the neutral zone and snuck a pass to Cory Ward (F, So., Las Vegas, Nev.) streaking into the zone. Ward snipped the net high on Zane Gothberg's glove side for his team-leading 13th goal of the season.
The teams played a scoreless third period, but kept the fans, both from UND and BSU, on the edge of their seats through regulation and the five-minute overtime period.
With 8:53 left in the third, BSU senior forward Jeff Jubinville (Edmonton, Alberta) found himself in front of the crease and an open net with the puck on his stick, but missed wide of the left post. UND's Grimaldi rung a shot of the post with 80 seconds to play but time ran out on the period sending the Beavers to their ninth overtime game of the season. In overtime, BSU senior Radoslav Illo (F, Bystrica, Slovakia) beat Zothberg, but was denied by the post. That was as close as either team would get as the Beavers settled for their seventh tie of the season.
Special teams play was virtually a nonfactor in the game. With only six penalties called, both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play and the teams combined for just eight shots on the man advantage.
Walsh earned his first victory since Nov. 23, posting 42 saves on the night. He improves to 5-8-4 overall.
Bemidji State (7-11-7) and North Dakota (11-7-3) will change venues and complete the home-and-home series at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. tomorrow. Opening faceoff is set for 7:07 p.m.