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Beavers Top Sioux for the First Time in 41 Years

Nick Ross | Sports Writer | 11-20-2011

The last time the Beavers beat the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, head coach Tom Serratore was just a kid.  Beaver assistant coaches Bert Gilling and Ted Belisle were not even born yet, and the oldest 2011-12 Beaver was 17 years away from being born.  Richard Nixon was president. 

The Beavers broke a 41-year long stigma, getting the second win against the Sioux in the history of Bemidji State men’s hockey.  The Beavers were backed by a lone goal by junior forward Jordan George and a 26-save shutout by Dan Bakala en route to a 1-0 victory.

“Right now we need any win we can get,”  Bakala said of the win. “These guys have had our number for so many years it felt good.  We stuck it to them, they didn’t out play us we just outright won.”
The teams would play to a scoreless tie after the first period, with the Beavers putting six shots on net and the Sioux putting five on net.  The Beavers would end the period with a few scoring chances in the last minute, heading into the locker rooms with some momentum.

The Beavers would come out for the second period hard, outshooting the Sioux early.  They would get a few good chances by junior forward Matt Hartmann with a tip in front, followed up by a solid chance by senior forward Darcy Findlay.  The Beavers momentum would hit a high when the Sioux were called on a holding penalty eight minutes into the period, and then on an interference penalty during the delayed whistle.  That would put the Beavers on a two-minute-long 5-on-3 power play.

“You have to score on a two-minute 5-on-3,” Serratore said.  “If you don’t score on that two man advantage the momentum gets deflated.  It is a mind game with your power play unit if you don’t score there.  The bottom line is you need to convert.”

The Beavers would convert 1:12 into the penalties when Jordan George buried his seventh goal of the season, putting the Beavers ahead 1-0 midway through the second period.

“It was huge,” George said of his goal.  “We had to get one there, especially in a 5-on-3.  It was a big opportunity in the game and fortunately we bore down and got one.”

Senior defenseman Brad Hunt picked up an assist on the goal. It was his 76th career assist and placed him just two assists behind Matt Read for the BSU Division-1 lead.

Bemidji senior forward Jamie MacQueen would get whistled for a hooking penalty just three seconds after the Sioux killed the second penalty, forcing the Beavers to go on their own penalty kill.

The Beavers momentum would stop there, with the Sioux controlling the ice the rest of the period. Bakala would help backstop the Beavers, making many through-traffic saves and keeping the Sioux off the board through two periods.

The Beavers would get a good chance to start the third period when MacQueen was stopped by UND goaltender Aaron Dell on a breakaway.  That would be followed up by a tripping penalty on Bakala, leading into nine minutes of penalty killing for the Beavers, including a five-minute major on junior defenseman Matt Carlson for checking from behind.

“It was a big kill,” Serratore said. “The momentum shifts, and you don’t know what’s going to happen at the beginning of that five-minute power play.  We were clearing pucks, getting good line changes, and were into our rhythm.  You could really feel the confidence on the bench.”

The Beaver penalty kill unit would be top notch in the game, killing all six penalties, totaling 25 minutes of shorthanded play.  The Beavers power play unit would be different, with the lone goal coming on the power play.

The Beavers would appear to score an empty net goal with six seconds remaining, but the goal was disallowed due to an offside call.  The goal would be unnecessary, as Bakala would send the Sioux home without a goal on the day, for his first shutout of the season and seventh of his career.

The Beavers will get the Thanksgiving weekend off before traveling to St. Cloud to take on the Huskies in a two game series on December 2nd and 3rd.   They will be back at the Sanford Center for six straight home games, starting on December 9 against the Denver Pioneers.