MANKATO, Minn. — Just as it had done the night before, Minnesota State-Mankato battled back from a deficit and defeated visiting Bemidji State 2-1 on Sunday to earn its second consecutive home sweep.
The Mavericks (10-8 overall) were led by freshman Tim Jackman, who tallied the game-winning goal and an assist on his team’s other goal. Mankato won despite BSU goalie Grady Hunt, who had another spectacular night in goal for the Beavers.
Grady gave BSU (1-16 overall) a chance to win the game, despite the puck being in its end most of the game. He came up with 34 saves for the struggling Beavers.
“I think their goaltender is just very good,” Mankato coach Troy Jutting said. “We had some chances early in the game especially that he made some key saves on and kept them in the game.”
Like Saturday night, Bemidji State scored first. At the 1:34 mark, defenseman Rico Fatticci took what seemed like a harmless shot from the blue line. The puck seemed to catch Mavericks goalie Eric Pateman off guard as it went low stick side for Fatticci’s fifth goal of the year.
After the goal, Hunt began to put on a show. With Mankato on the power play at 3:25, Hunt stopped Jackman and teammate Jerry Cunningham on point-blank shots in front of the net.
Hunt continued to frustrate the Mavericks as he stopped Jackman on a two-on-one rush 8:05 into the game. Jackman took a pass from teammate Jesse Rooney, who had a hat trick the night before, and fired the puck at Hunt. However, the Beaver goalie was able to make a split save that kept BSU in the lead at the time.
Mankato appeared to score while shorthanded one minute later. With Jackman off for roughing, The Mavericks’ T.J. Guidarelli and Ryan Severson played give-and-go to move around the Beaver defense and set Severson up for a one-timer. He shot the puck from the left face-off circle, and the puck appeared to go in, as the goal light came on. However, the officials ruled that the puck hit the post and came out.
Mankato finally got a legitimate goal past Hunt at the 11:30 mark of the period. On the power play, Jackman carried the puck in the zone on the left side. He passed to a streaking Guidarelli, who tapped the puck in the right side of the net for his first goal of the year. That knotted the score at 1.
“He’s been pressing over the past five or six games because he hasn’t scored,” Jutting said of senior Guidarelli. “It was nice to see him get one. Hopefully that will take him into the last half of the season. We need him to score some goals for us down the stretch if we’re going to be a good hockey team.”
The second period was mostly uneventful, with both teams sitting back and playing defensively.
Hunt came up with his best save of the game 4:13 into the second. Guidarelli stole the puck from the Beaver defense and fired the puck in on Hunt. The BSU goalie was able to kick away the initial shot, and he made a spectacular glove save on Mankato captain Tyler Baines’ rebound attempt.
It was Pateman’s turn to make big saves at the end of the period. While BSU was on the power play, Pateman made two huge saves on defenseman Mark Phenow.
Phenow, who had a goal the night before, took two slap shots from the blue line in the final minute, but Pateman was able to keep him from finding the back of the net.
The third period started out slow, as both teams played sloppy in their ends.
The Mavericks got their second goal and the game-winning goal with 13:42 left in the game. With BSU’s Miikka Lindholm in the penalty box for tripping, Cunningham won the face-off draw back to defenseman Ben Christopherson. Christopherson fired the puck on net, and Jackman was able to tip the puck in for his ninth goal of the year.
“I just went to the net,” Jackman said. “[Christopherson] threw it at the net, and I was lucky enough to tip it past the goalie, who was stopping everything we threw at him tonight. It was a lucky bounce.”
Pateman sealed the Beavers’ fate by stopping forward Daryl Bat 8:53 into the period. Bat flew down the left side past the Maverick defense and came in all alone on Pateman. However, Pateman was there to stop Bat’s backhand shot. That was the closet the Beavers would come to tying the game, as the score ended in a 2-1 victory for Mankato.
Jutting said Hunt’s play was a concern to him and the whole team heading into the third period.
“When you play a goaltender like him, it’s always in the back of your mind that you need to score early,” Jutting said. “It’s a concern when you go into the third period tied. It’s always a concern as a coach when you play that well and don’t have the lead that you figure you should have.”
Jackman agreed, saying that Hunt “took a lot of confidence from some of our players.”
Hunt felt he was in the zone for both games this weekend.
“I had a bad weekend last week, and I thought I’d try and get a little more mentally focused for this weekend and try and help the boys get another win,” he said. “I just try to keep my team in the game and give them a chance to win every game. It’s my job.”
The two teams, who played in front of a crowd of 2,364, both have next week off.