OMAHA, Neb. — Coming into Saturday’s game at Nebraska-Omaha, Bemidji State senior forward David Boehm had scored three goals in as many years in non-exhibition games.
He didn’t play like it on Saturday.
His two second-period goals on Saturday were the difference in the contest, and his second tally stood up as the game-winner in a 3-2 triumph over UNO at CenturyLink Center.
The victory boosted BSU’s record to 2-1-1 (1-0-1 WCHA), coming some 24 hours after a 3-3 draw the night before, where the visitors overcame two two-goal deficits and deserved more than the lone point they got.
With the loss, UNO’s third Saturday loss in as many weeks and first defeat in WCHA play, the Mavericks fell to 2-3-1 and 0-1-1 in the league.
What’s more, BSU is now unbeaten in its last eight games in Omaha.
CenturyLink Center (née Qwest Center from when the Beavers’ streak began) has been good to BSU, and coach Tom Serratore’s team will undoubtedly miss visiting that arena when UNO departs for the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference at the end of this season.
“We’ve been so fortunate, and, again, the hockey gods have been good to us down here,” Serratore said. “We’ve had good goaltending when we’ve been down here, and I think that’s been the key.”
Sophomore netminder Andrew Walsh was solid in the Beavers’ net for the second night running, making 25 saves Saturday to go along with the 39 he’d made the night before.
BSU opened the scoring 11:05 into the contest, with senior forward Ben Kinne roofing a shot past UNO goaltender Anthony Stolarz for Kinne’s first goal of the season.
Boehm then doubled the visitors’ lead just 97 seconds into the second period. Linemates Jeff Dubinville and Brance Orban, on the first of the latter’s two assists on the night, set up Boehm for the senior’s first goal since scoring an empty-netter in Omaha on Feb. 4 of last season.
UNO then suddenly — some might say finally — came to life and scored a pair of goals to restore parity. Sophomore forward James Polk found a way past Walsh at 6:17 of the second period for Polk’s first goal of his collegiate career, and Josh Archibald leveled the game at 13:07 with his first tally of the night and second on the weekend.
Boehm brought UNO back down to Earth at 18:21 of the same period, though. Capitalizing when UNO’s defense should have cleared its zone twice on the play , Boehm snuck in and beat Stolarz, who was out of position at the far post for the shot.
UNO coach Dean Blais then opted to pull Stolarz after Saturday’s second period, bringing on senior John Faulkner in Stolarz’s stead. A freshman, Stolarz had a rough night in the Mavericks’ net, stopping nine of the 12 shots he faced over 40 minutes and looking shaky throughout.
Bemidji then had to weather a storm in Saturday’s third period. Walsh was up to the task however, stopping all seven shots he faced in the weekend’s final frame to help clinch three points in the Beavers’ final WCHA regular season series in Omaha.
As for the hero of the night up front for BSU, Serratore said that Boehm’s two goals were much-deserved rewards for prior performances that went overlooked on the score sheets.
“David Boehm’s got tremendous speed, and he gets a lot of scoring opportunities,” Serratore said. “He’s a senior forward right now, so he’s a seasoned veteran. He had two goals in one of our exhibition games, so David’s played extremely well for us, and (his two goals Saturday do) not surprise me at all.
“He’s a guy that plays with a motor, he gets behind defensemen, he competes extremely hard, and eventually those guys are going to get some puck luck.”
Boehm himself was glad to see his hard work finally pay off in such a big way.
“It always seems like I have a lot of chances game-in and game-out, and there’s something about Omaha. Last year, I scored here in Omaha, so I’m just glad that they went in, and especially when we really needed them.”
In the opposite dressing room, Blais made his frustrations known about his Mavericks’ inability to take points — points plural — from Bemidji on UNO’s own ice.
“We know what they do; it’s just hard to play against them,” Blais said. “You’ve got to come up with loose pucks, and they’re a veteran team where they had seven or probably eight seniors that played tonight.
“We just had an opportunity when we tied the game, but let it slip away at the end of the second period.”
UNO is busing to Houghton, Mich. next week to face Michigan Tech, while BSU has next weekend off before visiting No. 19 Colorado College.