BEMIDJI, Minn. — Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore said it best following the game: “This is a 60-minute game, not 58.”
The Beavers certainly didn’t live by that wisdom Friday night. Holding seemingly-comfortable 4-1 lead with 1:31 to play in regulation, the Beavers surrendered two goals in a span of 23 seconds, both to Kris Wiebe (at 18:29 and 18:52 of the third) and had to withstand several furious assaults on goaltender Grady Hunt in the final seconds.
Marty Goulet put an end to the Findlay rally attempt, netting an empty-net goal with 11 seconds to play to give BSU the 5-3 win.
Freshman Riley Riddell was a monster for BSU, scoring two goals and recording two assists. The four points tied his career high, set at Union on Nov. 2, and marked his sixth multiple-point game this year.
His two goals also tied a career high. He narrowly missed a hat trick when he shot wide right on Findlay’s empty net in the closing seconds; Goulet rebounded that miss for the empty-net goal to finally seal the game for BSU.
Riddell scored the game’s first goal at 5:35 of the first, then netted what would be the game-winning goal at 10:07 of the third period. It was Riddell’s second game-winning goal this year.
Hunt saved 35 shots and remained undefeated against CHA opposition at 4-0-1. Jamie VandeSpyker took the loss for Findlay, saving 38 shots in 59:24 of work.
“This was a very interesting game,” Serratore said. “We had that 4-1 lead, then all of a sudden it was 4-3. We have to play better tomorrow, but we are happy to get the two-point win.”
BSU improved to 6-5-0 all-time against Findlay, 4-1-0 on home ice in Bemidji.
Bemidji State improved to 7-10-2 overall with the win and snapped a five-game losing streak, which was tied for third-longest in school history. BSU also improved to 4-2-1 in College Hockey America play, sliding past Findlay into fourth place in the league with nine points. Findlay dropped to 8-11-0 on the year, seeing its three-game winning streak come to an end. The Oilers fell to 4-5-0 in CHA play.
The two teams wrap up their two-game series Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at Glas Fieldhouse in Bemidji.