BEMIDJI, Minn. — Bemidji State picked up the first win in the Tom Serratore era in thrilling fashion, hitting for the cycle and scoring on even-strength, shorthanded, power-play and penalty shot opportunities in a 7-6 victory over WCHA member Minnesota
State-Mankato, Friday at John S. Glas Fieldhouse.
BSU’s specialty teams dominated. The Beavers were 4-for-8 on power-play opportunities, killed off all eight Mankato power-play opportunities and scored a shorthanded goal, and tied the game at 6-6 in the third period on a penalty shot.
“We out-special-teamed them. That’s the name of the game,” said Serratore. “The guys were gutsy and the penalty-killing was spectacular. Tomorrow is a different ballgame. Hopefully we’ll respond.”
Early on, it looked as if Mankato might run away with the game. The Mavericks scored the game’s first goal just 1:39 into the first period as Shane Joseph beat BSU goalkeeper Marty Goulet. MSU needed just 43 seconds to get on the board again as Jon Hart found the net, making it 2-0 after just 2:22 of the first period.
BSU rallied for three consecutive goals in the first period, coming on a power-play effort from Bill Methven, a booming power-play shot from the blue line off the stick of Clay Simmons, and a Todd Knott goal to give BSU its first lead with 3:49 to play in the first. Mankato evened the score on a Nate Mauer tally just 1:12 after Knott’s goal, tying the game at three.
BSU struck first in the second period on Simmons’ second power-play goal, but
Mankato netted the game’s next two goals — both coming off the stick of Tim Jackman a mere 23 seconds apart — to retake the lead, 5-4. Goulet’s shorthanded goal again evened the score, this time at 5-5 with 2:15 to play in the second.
Mankato drew first blood in the third as Cole Bassett netted an unassisted goal to stake the Mavs to a 6-5 advantage. But BSU’s special teams would come to the rescue. Goulet tied the score at six with a penalty shot at the 5:29 mark of the third, and Andrew Murray’s first career goal — on the power play at 9:33 — would provide BSU with all the cushion it would need in a stunning 7-6 win.
“It was little nervewracking,” Goulet said of his penalty shot. “The goalie froze a little and I just took a backhand.”
“Awesome,” BSU defenseman Clay Simmons said. “I feel like we’re on top and the confidence is back. It’s a big bang to start the rest of the season off.”
Goulet addedm “We’ve waited three years [for a win over the WCHA] and paid our dues.”
The win gives Serratore a victory in his BSU debut. Serratore, the seventh head coach in BSU history, becomes the fifth BSU bench general to win his debut. Serratore’s win tonight runs to four the number of consecutive wins by Beaver head coaches in their debut game. The last BSU head coach to lose in his first game was Vic Weber, who dropped a 4-0 decision to St. Cloud State on Jan. 29, 1960.
With the victory, BSU improves to 1-0-0 on the season while Mankato falls to
0-1-0. BSU is now 35-8-1 all-time in season openers and has won 14 of its last 15. BSU kept alive its streak of having not lost its season opener in back-to-back seasons since the 1949-50 and 1959-60 seasons (BSU did not field a program from 1951-58).
The two teams will be back in action Saturday in John Glas Fieldhouse. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (CT).