GRAND FORKS, N.D. — North Dakota had to rally from a three-goal deficit to salvage a 3-3 tie with Bemidji State in a nonconference game at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Neither team was happy with the outcome.
“We’re not happy with a tie,” said BSU assistant captain Brendan Cook. “Our mindset was to come in here and get a win. We played well enough to do that for 40 minutes, but that doesn’t win a hockey game.”
“We’re not happy with a tie at home, absolutely not,” said Sioux coach Dave Hakstol.
The Beavers rang up three unanswered goals in the game’s first 25 minutes, streaking to a 3-0 lead and quieting the home crowd of 10,528 fans. UND freshman goalie Philippe Lamoureux started the game shaky and his teammates looked flat — a bad combination for a team coming from a week off and missing four players to injuries, suspension and a game disqualification penalty.
“We had a flat start,” said Hakstol. “Whatever the reason is, there’s no excuse for that. This is crunch time, whether you’re in WCHA play or not. We’re 10 games from the end of the season, and everyone’s playing for something.”
BSU, on the other hand, came out of the locker room energized, and freshman goalie Matt Climie played outstanding, holding the Sioux scoreless until late in the second period. But in the third period, it was BSU’s turn for a lapse.
“After they got their first goal, we sat on the lead and all we wanted to do was defend the lead,” said BSU coach Tom Serratore. “I know it’s clich, but you have to keep playing. You’ve got to play the game. You can’t play the score. We didn’t get back to the hockey we wanted to play until it was 3-3.”
Junior wing Jean-Guy Gervais gave BSU a 1-0 lead at 6:12 of the first period. Camped out in front the crease, Gervais knocked in a Matt Pope centering pass from behind the net.
Pope, a freshman center, then gave the Beavers a 2-0 lead by punching in a rebound off a shot from the point by defenseman Niko Suoraniemi.
Not until BSU went up 3-0 at 5:01 of the second period on a goal by sophomore forward Rob Sirianni did the Sioux begin to show some life. Defenseman Andy Schneider’s power play goal at 14:43 mark cut BSU’s lead to 3-1 before the end of the second period.
UND made it a one-goal game at 9:38 of the third period when sophomore forward Drew Stafford scored on the power play. He one-timed a drop pass from freshman center Travis Zajac, netting his eighth goal of the season.
With about 5:30 left in the game, Zajac nearly tied the game on a shorthanded breakaway. But after getting Climie down, his backhander hit the crossbar flush and bounced out.
“I faked the goalie out and tried to go high,” Zajac said. “I think it either went off his pad or I went too high and hit the crossbar.”
Sioux sophomore forward Chris Porter scored the tying goal at 17:04 off a pass from Colby Genoway.
“I went to the side of the net and yelled for Colby,” Porter said. “It was a great feed and I had body position on the defenseman, so I just redirected it into the open net.”
Just when it appeared the momentum had decisively shifted in UND’s favor, Schneider was called for boarding. The Sioux spent all but the last 15 seconds of the period killing the penalty, during which Lamoureux made some big saves to maintain the tie.
In overtime, each team had two shots on goal, but neither could pot the game winner.
UND went 2-3 on the power play while BSU was 0-5. Climie stopped 27 of 30 shots he faced. Lamoureux stopped 23 of 26.
UND is 14-10-3 overall (10-9-1 WCHA) and BSU is 14-8-1 overall (9-3-0 CHA). The teams will play the second game of the series at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Engelstad Arena.