SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Same story, different results.
For the second straight night, Bemidji State outplayed Lake Superior, but Saturday it was the Beavers who scored a goal in the waning minutes to beat the Lakers 3-1 in a nonconference matchup.
The Beavers made the most of their scoring opportunities, while goalie Layne Sedevie turned away the Lakers’ chances, and that turned out to be the difference.
“We had chances early in the game to make the game two- or three-nothing, and we didn’t put them away,” said Lake Superior assistant coach Jim Roque. “Their guys scored the goals and finished the plays.”
“It’s all about who capitalizes on mistakes,” said Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore. “We were fortunate a few times tonight.”
The Lakers were ahead 1-0 heading into the third period courtesy of B.J. Pelkey’s second goal of the weekend, but the Beavers showed resilience with three unanswered goals, including the clinching goal with 1:33 left on the clock to put Lake Superior away for good.
“After a disappointing loss last night, the boys showed a lot of character,” said Serratore.
Beaver forward Jean-Guy Gervais tallied Bemidji’s first goal when Laker defenseman Derek A. Smith fell down with no one around him, and Gervais walked in alone and stuffed the puck between Jeff Jakaitis’ pads.
Less than two minutes later, Jakaitis gave up a sprawling rebound on the power play, and Beaver defenseman Peter Jonsson was waiting patiently just outside the crease, lifting the puck into the net to give Bemidji State a 2-1 lead.
With just 1:45 left in the game and a faceoff in the Beavers’ zone, Lake Superior decided not to pull the goalie for an extra attacker. As it turned out, it wouldn’t matter.
The Beavers won the draw, took the puck into the Lakers’ zone, and Andrew Murray, who had slid through the Laker defense, wristed a shot with no opposition over Jakaitis’ glove to seal the victory and force the split.
“The guys maintained their intensity,” said Serratore. “That’s good to see, especially on the road.”
Roque gave the Beavers high praise for their play over the weekend. “They have a good team,” said Roque. “They deserved to get at least a split. We kind of stole one from them last night, and they came here tonight and played hard.”
Bemidji’s top line of Brendan Cook, Andrew Murray and Luke Erickson came through big for the Beavers this weekend, accounting for two goals and three assists on even-strength goals and five assists on the power play.
“Their top two lines could easily play in the CCHA,” said Laker head coach Frank Anzalone after Friday night’s game.
Bemidji State (7-5-0 overall, 3-1-0 CHA) heads home after a six-game road trip to begin an eight-game homestand, starting with a series against CHA foe Niagara. The Beavers went 4-2 on their road trip, sweeping Niagara and splitting series with Lake Superior and Wayne State.
Conversely, Lake Superior (5-8-1 overall, 4-5-1 CCHA) ends a string of games in which it played seven of eight at home, going 4-3-1 in that stretch. The Lakers travel to Omaha next weekend to take on the surprising Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks in a battle for position in the CCHA standings.