BEMIDJI, Minn. — For the second consecutive game against the Clarkson Golden Knights, Bemidji State held a 2-0 lead. And for the second consecutive game, the Beavers were unable to hold that lead as the Knights tallied four unanswered goals en route to a 4-2 nonconference victory in the season opener for both teams.
After a scoreless first period which saw the teams combine for just 18 shots, Bemidji State went midway into the second period before finding the back of the net. Brendan Cook took a pass from Jesse Balsimo and Andrew Murray to tally his first goal of the season. Just 1:09 later, freshman Luke Erickson scored his first career goal to give the Beavers a 2-0 edge.
It was all BSU would muster. The Golden Knights needed just 3:15 to answer Erickson’s lamplighter, getting a power-play goal from Mac Faulkner at 13:29 of the frame after Murray was sent to the box for hooking.
BSU took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission, but Clarkson needed just 28 seconds of the third period to even the score. Jean Desrochers took a pass from Tristan Lush and wrapped the puck inside the right pipe past Grady Hunt to draw the Knights even.
Clarkson took the lead on a goal from captain Rob McFeeters, with Lush earning another assist on the play. McFeeters scored even-strength from in front at 16:29.
BSU called time out at 18:59 of the third and lifted Hunt for an extra skater. After a wild rally in front of the Clarkson net, Desrochers flipped the puck home from just outside the BSU blue line, scoring on an empty net for the game’s final 4-2 margin.
Special teams proved to be a key. The Knights picked up their first goal of the night on Faulkner’s power-play tally in the second period, and held the Beavers scoreless on five opportunities with the man advantage. BSU outshot Clarkson 11-8 on the power play.
BSU dropped a 5-4 decision at Clarkson in the last meeting between the teams, Nov. 23, 2002, after the Beavers held a 2-0 lead at the 9:23 mark of the first period. Clarkson scored four unanswered goals in that contest as well, taking a 4-2 lead before BSU scored two of the game’s final three goals to pull within the final one-goal margin.
Friday’s defeat marks just the sixth time in BSU’s Division I era (since 1999) the Beavers have lost a game when leading by two goals. Clarkson becomes the first program to twice rally from two goals down to beat BSU.
The loss drops BSU to 36-10-2 all-time in season openers and is just the team’s second loss in a season opener in the last 17 years, while Clarkson improves to 1-0-0. The teams wrap up a two-game nonconference series Saturday, with opening faceoff slated for 7:05 p.m. Central.
BSU will have a special pregame ceremony to honor the 20th anniversary of the 1983-84 Bemidji State team. That squad set an American collegiate record by going 31-0-0 en route to the NCAA Division II national championship.