|1st||18:01||BMJ||1-0||EV||Adam Brady (7)||Charlie Combs/6|
|3rd||18:19||BMJ||2-0||EV GW||Jordan Heller (7)||Mike Soucier/4|
|3rd||18:38||AKF||1-2||EV EA||Chad Staley (4)||Troy Van Tetering/9|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Bemidji State (16-11-7)||0/2||7/22||0|
|Anton Martinsson (L, 10-16-3)||58:35||2||12||3||10||25|
|Bemidji State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Michael Bitzer (W, 16-10-7)||60:00||1||5||10||9||24|
BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) - Senior Jordan Heller came through late in the third period to give the Bemidji State University Men's Hockey team the offensive output it needed to secure a 2-1 victory over the University of Alaska and the right to host the first round of the WCHA Playoffs at Sanford Center, March 2-4.
In a game where Heller's goal put the Beavers up on the scoreboard, Bemidji State's penalty-kill unit and goaltender pulled their share of heroics Friday to put BSU in position to get the win. The Beavers were six-for-six on the penalty kill and Michael Bitzer saved 24 of the 25 shots he faced and was well on his way to his sixth shutout of the year before the Nanooks scored an extra-attacker goal at the 18:38 mark of the third period.
The five-point weekend gives BSU 47 points and fourth place in the league standings, seven points ahead of Michigan Tech, with just two games to play. With the top four teams hosting the first round best-of-three playoff series, BSU will return to Sanford Center for at least two more games this season with its likely opponent Michigan Tech.
Adam Brady accounted for the only scoring through the first 58 minutes of play, netting his seventh goal of the year at the 18:01 mark of the first period. Brady started the scoring play when he got his stick on a pass meant for a Nanook. Charlie Combs carried the puck into the zone. Brady finished the play from the right post.
At the 58:01 mark Heller capitalized on a great individual effort from Mike Soucier on the sidewall scoring his seventh goal of the season, and fourth in the Beavers' last four games, to give BSU the insurance they would need. Eighteen seconds later, with the Alaska goaltender off the ice, the Nanooks capitalized on the push when Chad Staley found the back of the net to cut the BSU lead in half, 2-1. Unlike Thursday, the Beavers defense held off the rally to finish the win and complete the weekend with five-of-six points.
BSU, now 16-11-3 overall and 13-8-5-3 in WCHA play, hits the road for the final series of the 2017-18 regular season, Feb. 23-24, traveling to Mankato, Minn. for a two-game set versus Minnesota State University, Mankato. The series will get underway at 7:07 p.m. each night at the Verizon Center.
Tickets for the first round of the WCHA Playoffs begin at $12, will go on sale online Monday and will be for sale during normal business hours at the Sanford Center Box Office beginning Tuesday at 9 a.m.