ST. CLOUD, Minn. (Herb Brooks National Hockey Center) - The Bemidji State University men's hockey team battled back from an early 2-0 deficit to tie the game late in the second period, but special teams play would prove to be the difference as St. Cloud State University delivered the Beavers a season-opening 3-2 loss Friday at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
The Huskies not only made good on one of their six power-play opportunities, they also manufactured the game-winning goal in a short-handed situation with 4:01 left in the second period.
Emotions ran high on a night that not only signified the first game of the 2013-14 season for each team, it also served as the grand opening of the newly-renamed Herb Brooks National Hockey Center and saw SCSU hoist a 2013 Frozen Four banner into the rafters.
The Huskies were first to light the lamp. Just 3:32 into the game, BSU defender Sam Rendle (Jr., Grand Rapids, Minn.) was whistled for interference. SCSU needed just 10 seconds to convert the opportunity into a 1-0 lead. Joey Benik recorded the first of two goals on the night at the 3:42 mark.
Benik gave SCSU a 2-0 cushion 5:51 into the second period. Jonny Brodzinski collected his second assist of the evening on the play.
Bemidji State sophomore Markus Gerbrandt (F, Edmonton, Alberta) trimmed the St. Cloud State lead to one goal after netting the Beavers' first marker of the 2013-14 campaign with help from Matt Prapavessis (Jr., D, Oakville, Ontario) and James Hansen (So., D, Maple Grove, Minn.).
BSU began to generate some momentum late in the second period. After knotting the game at 2-2 on a goal from Cory Ward (So., F, Las Vegas, Nev.) at the 14:38 mark, SCSU's Andrew Proncho was called for interference, setting BSU up on its first power-play opportunity of the night. However, the Huskies' would use the situation to its advantage as Nic Dowd scored what would stand as the game-winning goal just 29 seconds into the Beavers' man advantage.
SCSU out shot BSU 22-10 in the final 40 minutes of play. BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh (Jr., Dawson Creek, British Columbia) was up to the challenge collecting 20 of his 26 saves in during the final two sessions, which included 11 stops in the third period alone.
Five different BSU players posted a point in the opener with Prapavessis leading the charge with a pair of assists. The game stood as the fourth multi-point game of his career.
After lasting just 10 seconds on its first short-handed opportunity, the BSU penalty-kill unit bucked down to hold SCSU without out a man advantage goal in its final five opportunities and finished the night 5-of-6 (.833).
BSU failed to score on either of its power-play chances (0-2).
The Beavers, 0-1-0, will attempt to salvage a split in the nonconference series tomorrow when the same teams meet for a 7:07 p.m. opening faceoff.