Bemidji Minnesota — The Fighting Sioux hockey team rebounded nicely on Saturday night with a hard fought 5-2 win, after being swept two weekends ago by the Minnesota Gophers down in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Put simply, the Sioux went back to work and gutted out a hard-fought win by scoring three goals in the final five minutes of the game to end a two game losing streak.
Fast forward to Sunday night; the Fighting Sioux looked to complete their first sweep of the season with a win in Bemidji against the Bemidji State Beavers. There would be no sweep as the Bemidji State Beavers beat the Fighting Sioux for first time in the modern era and ended an impressive streak of 19-0-1.
After the game Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol had this to say about his team’s effort, “we had a lot of people in the lineup that didn’t provide their lot to their teammates.”
The first period of today’s game was reminiscent of a title fight where both teams felt each other out and tested their opponent’s defense but got few opportunities to score. Both teams played tight defensive hockey and gave up very few scoring opportunities. The Beavers outshot the Sioux 6-5 in the first period.
In the second period the Beavers came out on fire and applied pressure early and kept the puck in the Fighting Sioux end. The Beavers tested Fighting Sioux goalie Aaron Dell with a pair of glorious scoring opportunities that he smartly turned aside.
At the 7:56 mark of the second period the Fighting Sioux went down two men when Andrew MacWilliam took a penalty for interference and Mark MacMilliam was called for holding.
The Beavers attacked the Fighting Sioux net and cashed in on the power play at the 09:08 mark of the second period when Beavers defenseman Brad Hunt took a hard shot that Aaron Dell saved. Beaver forward Jordan George was Johnny on the spot and shot the rebound into the Sioux net to give the Beavers a one goal lead.
After the power play goal by the Beavers, the Fighting Sioux applied pressure on the Beaver net but could not get anything past Beaver goalie Dan Bakala. The Beavers outshot the Sioux 11-10 in the middle period.
The Beavers started out the third period with a breakaway from forward Jamie MacQueen, as he raced in on Fighting Sioux goalie Aaron Dell only to have Dell rob him.
At the 07:21 mark of the third period, the Beavers defenseman Matt Carlson would be called for a five minute major and a game misconduct for planting Fighting Sioux forward Mario Lamoureux into the end boards. The Fighting Sioux were unable to cash in on the five minute power play.
The Fighting Sioux would get a “few” opportunities to tie the score in the third, but they were unable to get one past the Bemidji goalie Dan Bakala. The Beavers frustrated the Fighting Sioux all night long by getting in the passing lanes and taking away the Fighting Sioux’s time and space. In the third period the Beavers defense collapsed around the Beaver goal and didn’t give the Fighting Sioux much to look at.
Beaver goalie Dan Bakala credited his forwards fore-check for tonight’s win, “our forwards were kind of getting in the way of the shots from their defense and that is where most of their shots were coming from, not to many times you’re going to score from the blue line and that is where most of their shots came from.”
After the game Beavers head coach Tom Serratore had this to day about his team ending the 40 year losing streak against the Sioux, “we played 60 good minutes of hockey, we earned the victory and killed nine minutes of penalties, we did a very good job killing those nine minutes, the kids showed a lot of resiliency. I thought it was a hard fought victory and the boys earned it and I was proud of how they competed.