MARQUETTE, Mich. — Meeting for the first time in their storied schools history, Northern Michigan and Bemidji State skated to a 3-3 tie on Friday.
After beginning their season with an impressive sweep of Air Force, the Beavers couldnt muster another goal to secure the victory.
“Typically whoever wins the specials teams battle will win the game, in this case its fitting that there was a tie, Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said.
Its early in the year and were trying to work out the kinks as far as our special teams go, Northern got their power-play goal, we got ours.
Northern Michigan got the scoring started in the first period when Mark Olver threaded a cross ice pass to Billy Smith who, from a very difficult angle, shot the puck over and behind Beaver goaltender Dan Bakala into the opposite corner.
The Beavers responded one minute and 19 seconds later when Chris McKelvie dodged traffic from behind the net and passed it to Jamie MacQueen who shot it up and over goaltender Brian Stewart to even up the score.
The Wildcats gained the edge in the second period. Ray Kaunisto seemingly scored a power-play goal, but with the net coming off its mooring the play was reviewed before it became official. Justin Florek and Mark Olver were credited with assists on the tally.
I thought my line gelled well together tonight, we all played hard, Florek said. Theyre a great team and we knew that coming into it. We didnt want to just stay with them, we wanted to take the lead.
Starting the third period with a four minute 5-on-4 advantage, the Beavers tied up the game with a goal off the post that sent Stewart diving. Jordan George took the goal and Brad Hunt and Shea Walters took the assists to bring intensity back into the third period.
The Wildcats regained their lead at 13:18 on a rebound shot from Florek. Olver and Smith had the assists to give the trio multiple points each on the night.
With 10 seconds left in the game, the Beavers tied up the game with a goal from Ben Kinne. Assists went to George and Matt Read who helped end the game with three goals and 25 shots on goal per team. The game went into overtime, but the score remained even, giving the Beavers and Wildcats their first ties of the season.
Its unbelievable to score with that little time left in the game, Bemidji States McQueen said. We were just going hard, going for that goal and to finally get that was rewarding. We had a strong third period and we earned that goal. We played 60 minute hockey and that really counted in the end.
There was a lot of emotion at the end of the game. We were elated, Serratore said. It was a good tie. There were 10 seconds to go and we were playing with desperation and we were fortunate to pop one in.
I thought it was a good game. Theyre a good team and theyre ranked No. 15 in the nation for a reason, Wildcat coach Walt Kyle said. There were stretches when the game was in our zone and we had to bend and not break, there were stretches when it was in their zone and they had to bend and not break. Were going to have to work hard again tomorrow and hopefully get the win.
The Beavers and Wildcats both hope to skate to a win in tomorrows match. They will face off at 7:35.