BEMIDJI, Minn. — Bemidji State dropped a 4-3 decision to the USA National Under 18 Developmental Team in an exhibition contest Sunday afternoon at John Glas Fieldhouse.
The power play dominated through the first two periods as the National Team picked up its first two goals on power-play opportunities and fought off a BSU five-on-three chance. Patrick Eaves netted his 17th goal of the season at 13:16 of the first period as the USA drew first blood, taking advantage of a crosschecking call on BSU’s Jesse Balsimo.
Nate Raduns would give the Nationals a 2-0 edge just 3:29 later, following a Kurt Knott interference penalty with his fourth goal of the year at 16:45 of the first period.
Defenseman Michael Nesdill then singlehandedly put the USA up 4-0 with a pair of goals less than four minutes apart in the second period. At 2:07 of the frame, he picked up his second goal of the year unassisted after BSU starting goaltender Grady Hunt had moved to his right and become pinned against the post in heavy traffic. Nesdill took the puck and skated in front of the crease, scoring on an empty net. He would then net the eventual game-winner, also unassisted, at 6:03 of the second.
BSU picked up two quick goals, one late in the second and one early in the third, to get back into the game. Donny DeMars beat National starting goaltender Tim Roth at 18:06 of the second to get the Beavers on the board, and Clay Simmons scored at 1:54 of the third to cut the BSU deficit to two goals at 4-2.
The game would remain scoreless until the final minute of regulation. BSU yanked Dannie Morgan, who had come into replace Hunt at 10:30 of the second period in a planned split-time situation, for an extra attacker with 2:19 to play in regulation. It took just 21 seconds for Jeff McGill to score for BSU on the extra-attacker opportunity with 58 seconds to play in the game.
Morgan reentered and the puck remained in the BSU zone, denying the Beavers another opportunity to go with the extra man as the National Team escaped with a 4-3 win.
“We had a slow start,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “We got better as the game went on, and hopefully that will carry on into conference play.”
The National Team improved to 13-13-4 for the year and picked up just its second win in its last eight starts.
Bemidji State returns to the ice for regular-season action with a College Hockey America series against the Findlay Oilers, Jan. 11-12 on its home ice in Bemidji. The Beavers will enter play with a 6-10-2 overall record, 3-2-1 against CHA foes. Findlay sits fourth in CHA, one point ahead of Bemidji State, with a 4-4-0 CHA record and an 8-10-0 mark against all foes.