BEMIDJI, Minn. — MSU-Mankato came flying out of the gates, netting two goals in the game’s first 3:13 en route to a 5-3 victory over the Bemidji State Beavers on Saturday in John Glas Fieldhouse.
Mankato started the game in much the same fashion as they had in Friday night’s 7-6 loss to Bemidji State, dominating the BSU zone early and scoring goals on three of their first five shots. However, unlike Friday, there would be no comeback for the Beavers.
Josh Kern got the Mavericks on the board just 1:16 into the game. Shane Joseph fired a point-blank shot at BSU goaltender Dannie Morgan, and Morgan could not freeze the puck and saw it trickle out to his left. Kern grabbed the rebound and fired it home to give Mankato a 1-0 lead.
Just 1:57 later, Jerry Cunningham broke free down the right side and found Nate Mauer in the middle on a power-play opportunity, and Mauer fired true to give MSU a two-goal advantage. The Mavs would build their early lead to 3-0 on a Jake Brenk even-strength goal at the 6:19 mark before BSU had even accomplished a shot on goal.
Freshman Andrew Murray was the first Beaver to manage a shot on goal, and he made it count with his second career goal from just outside the crease at the 9:14 mark of the first to pull BSU within 3-1.
Mankato would then pick up two power-play goals in the second period, at the 8:23 mark from Andy Hedlund and at the 12:35 mark from Kern, to go up 5-1 and essentially ice the win.
BSU would pick up two late goals on a power-play netter from Jeff McGill at the 16:13 mark of the third and an even-strength goal from Todd Knott with 18 seconds to play in regulation to pull BSU to the games final 5-3 margin.
“We had a little letdown,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “We ran into a good team that came out flying. You need 60 minutes and we only gave 45. We got down early and couldn’t recover. Its a learning experience.”
Marty Goulet and Mark Phenow led the Beavers with two points each. Both players recorded two assists. Dannie Morgan made the start in goal for BSU, and after allowing three goals on the first five shots he faced he settled down and saved 29 of the Mavs’ next 31 shots.
After BSU’s special teams had provided the difference in last night’s 7-6 win, tonight the Beavers could not get their special teams on track. BSU was 1-for-6 on the power play and allowed the Mavericks to score on three of eight power-play opportunities. Last night, BSU scored four power-play goals and held Mankato to 0-for-8.
Kern led Mankato with two goals. Shane Joseph and B.J. Abel had two assists each. Jon Volp earned the win for the Mavericks, playing all 60 minutes and saving 26 shots.
Bemidji State drops to 1-1-0 with the loss, while Mankato improves to 1-1-0. BSU is next in action Oct. 19-20 with a two-game series at Minnesota. Opening face-off for both games from Mariucci Arena is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (CT).