ST. CLOUD, Minn. — After the kind of night Dan Bakala had Friday, one might’ve thought the Bemidji State goaltender’s confidence would’ve taken a blow right away Saturday against St. Cloud State.
Just a little over three minutes into Saturday’s game, Bakala had had a save percentage of .600 after 10 shots for the weekend. SCSU’s first shot of the game got past Bakala at the 3:25 mark.
“I didn’t even see [the puck] so I didn’t feel like I got scored on,” said Bakala, who was pulled in the first period of Friday’s game after he allowed three goals on nine shots. “[SCSU] got to me last night and I just wanted to make sure they didn’t get those chances tonight.”
But the senior went on to make 33 saves, leading the Beavers to a 3-1 win over the Huskies Saturday at the National Hockey Center.
Brad Hunt’s hard slap shot from the high slot at the 11:25 mark of the first period gave the Beavers a 2-1 lead and Radislov Illo gave BSU some insurance on the power play in the third period.
BSU (6-8-2 overall, 4-6-2 WCHA) takes a three-game unbeaten streak into next weekend’s series against Denver at the Sanford Center.
“Danny Bakala really saw the puck well for us tonight,” said Beavers coach Tom Serratore. “He’s been our rock the past three years for us.”
The Huskies (6-8-4, 4-5-3) have a week off before they take on Denver at the National Hockey Center.
“The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time,” said SCSU coach Bob Motzko. “We didn’t have a good week of practice and we carried into this weekend.
“Last night, we made the mental mistakes. I don’t know what to call tonight.”
The Huskies got on the board first on a goal by Nick Oliver, dominated the shots on goal (34-14) and got multiple opportunities with the man advantage. It was BSU’s defense that kept the shots to the perimeter, blocked shot attempts and made life easier for Bakala.
“We pressured them down low and our forwards were getting in on their shots from the point,” Bakala said. “Our D-men were blocking huge shots and making big plays.”
In fact, the BSU defense was on its heels for almost all of the second period, having to kill off seven minutes of penalty time. The Beavers only put one shot on goal in the second period.
“The second period got a little hairy for us,” Serratore said. “We were shorthanded for a good portion of the second period and things just didn’t happen for us.”
One minute and one second after SCSU’s Nic Dowd took a hooking penalty in the offensive zone and the Huskies applying the pressure in desperation mode, Illo put the Beavers up by two goals with 3:11 to go.
As for the only goal Bakala gave up, Saturday, it never seemed to phase him.
“I felt like I didn’t even get scored on,” Bakala said. “I just had to make sure I kept going.”
Oliver tapped a loose puck past Bakala but all it took was 47 seconds for the Beavers to answer. Jordan George’s shot jumped a stick and popped over Faragher’s left shoulder. The play was reviewed because of the scrum in the crease, but the call on the ice stood.
SCSU forward Travis Novak took a Matt Prapavessis slapshot off the top of his kneecap midway through the second period. Novak was helped off the ice and received stitches during the game…Saturday was the first time SCSU’s paid attendance (4971) dipped below 5,000 fans this season…Hunt’s goal was the 100th point of his career, making him only the fifth defenseman in program history to reach the plateau…Hunt is also one assist away from breaking BSU’s all-time assists record. He was 78 for his career.