BEMIDJI, Minn. — Minnesota doubled up Bemidji State 6-3 at the Sanford Center Friday night as Sam Warning scored a goal and added two assists to lead the Gopher charge.
Leading 3-2 going into the third period, Minnesota did not waste much time getting a critical separation goal. Just 44 seconds into the third, Hudson Fasching finished off a play set up by Kyle Rau and Warning.
“Kyle’s line scoring the first shift of the third was huge,” said Minnesota coach Don Lucia.
The Beavers responded quickly with a power-play goal at 3:34 with textbook play across the top of the diamond by Brendan Harms and Matt Prapavessis. Radoslav Illo buried Prapavessis’ pass with the one-timer near the boards, beating Adam Wilcox over the glove.
The Gophers answered 50 seconds later as Nate Condon cleaned up a rebound on a shot by Justin Kloos, whose shot hit traffic out front where Condon pushed the loose puck into the corner of the goal.
“They score the power play goal [and] it was his first of the year and that’s what it need from him,” Lucia said. “We need him contributing offensively, but it’s that timely goal that very next shift and got us to five. With Adam in net, you feel pretty comfortable they’re not going to get there.”
“Your next couple shifts you want to try and still win those shifts and we didn’t do that,” said BSU coach Tom Serratore. “And you know what? The momentum shifted immediately after a couple of those goals and it never happened.”
The second-period play was very balanced. The pace slowed down and the shots were even 8-8.
The Beavers at 5:37 of the second the Beavers knotted the game up at two on their first shot of the second period. Danny Mattson fired a pass out front from the right boards and Cory Ward redirected the puck past Wilcox.
The Gophers regained the lead 3-2 on a goal by Warning, who fired a seeing-eye puck through traffic that beat Beavers’ goalie Andrew Walsh. On the weak side, Rau was hauled down as the puck went in for a delayed penalty on the Beavers, who stood tall on the penalty kill, preventing Minnesota from sustained pressure.
Ward had a great last-second shot after a faceoff win by the Beavers, but Wilcox made two point-blank saves to close out the stanza.
Mattson opened the scoring at 3:35 with a power-play goal by cleaning up the rebound on a shot from the blueline by Ruslan Dedan. The goal came just after a two-man advantage had expired.
“Mentally have to be ready when the puck drops,” Lucia said. “Mentally the first five to seven minutes, but to our guys’ credit, they came on strong and found their game.”
Just 61 seconds later, Travis Boyd tied the game at one throwing a backhand past Walsh. Connor Reilly worked the off the left board towards the circle where Boyd fired a quick shot near side.
The Gophers took the lead 2-1 at 10:45 with a 4-on-3 power-play goal by Ben Marshall, who dominated the power play in taking three shots. Warning took a shot from the left side and the rebound came out the far side near the bottom of the right circle where Marshall pounced on the rebound.
The Beavers had a second two-man advantage in the first period that lasted 32 seconds, but lost the ensuing faceoff and had difficulties reentering the zone.
Momentum belonged to Minnesota in the first period – outshooting the Beavers 15-6 and holding a one-goal lead.
“The biggest thing is that you have to skate with these guys,” said Serratore. “It’s hard because they got great speed. They have the puck a lot. There a very good puck possession team. You have to bend your knees and skate with these guys.”
The same two teams play Saturday night at 7 p.m. CST.