Grand Forks, ND – In hockey they say that it’s hard to end another team’s season, especially if you are playing an up-tempo team the like BSU Beavers. The Beavers put up a good fight and didn’t give up until the final horn.
The University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux has come full circle since Nov. 20, 2011, when the Fighting Sioux had just lost a lack-luster game to the Bemidji State Beavers, 1-0 in Bemidji. That was the first loss for the Fighting Sioux to the Beavers in over 41 years.
After the loss to the Beavers the Fighting Sioux had a lack-luster record of 4-7-1 and they sat in 11th place of the WCHA standings.
Since that game the Fighting Sioux have gone an eye-popping 17-5-2.
With the win tonight, the Fighting Sioux improve to 18-5-2 after an exciting 4-3 win against the Beavers.
For this Fighting Sioux hockey team, nothing has come easy. This game was no different as the Fighting Sioux survived a late third-period surge that saw the Beavers score two goals in 19 seconds.
With the win tonight, the Fighting Sioux will advance to the Final Five for a league leading 10th time and will play their first game on Thursday at a time to be determined later. Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol is excited to be moving on to the Final Five.
“We’re excited. It’s such a great weekend to go there and be a part of it,” Hakstol said. “Our guys have worked; it’s a nice reward for a lot of the work our guys have put in this weekend and even the way this game tonight went. It’s kind of indicative of our year.”
“We really can’t do things in an easy way. We find a way to get it down and I think that’s the best compliment I can pay our guys. They find a way to win. It’s a nice reward to head to Saint Paul.”
Tonight, three Fighting Sioux seniors played their final game at Ralph Engelstad Arena. For Mario Lamoureux, Brad Eidsness, and Ben Blood, it’s the end of a four-year hockey career.
Lamoreux, a Fighting Sioux captain, reflected on his last game at Ralph Engelstad.
“It’s sad…kind of took a last little look before I skated off the ice and tried to soak it all in,” Lamoureux said. “It’s been a great four years and a lot of good memories can’t be more appreciative of the fans and all the people that support this program. It’s absolutely first class in every way and it makes me extremely proud to be able to be part of this program and represent everything about it and it’s a good way to go out.”
Hakstol had this to say on his senior class’ last game at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
“I wish it would have been a little less exciting than it was”, Hakstol said. “A great night. Brad Eidsness answered the bell again. He has done it, he did it last Saturday, on senior’s night…he answered the call again tonight. He was great for his teammates. Mario and Ben were a huge part of this win tonight, and not just what you saw on the ice.
“This day of preparation starts really after last night’s game and obviously it gets into full swing when you get to the rink in the morning. I thought our leaders did a good job of having our team ready to play tonight.”
“The last three minutes was a little bit sloppy and a little bit ugly for about a 20 second span. You know what, we locked it down after that and we didn’t give up anything and did a great job with a one goal lead.”
With the win tonight, the Fighting Sioux improve to 22-12-3.
With the loss tonight, the Bemidji State Beavers fall to 17-18-3. The loss also eliminates the Bemidji State Beavers from NCAA post season play. Beaver Coach Tom Serratore had this to say about his team’s season.
“I thought it was a great season. Everyone gauges their season differently, but I mean, this is a tough league, we know it’s a tough league. We had 17 wins. We were over five hundred in the regular season. We had more points than we had last year. Those are the things we have look at right there. Again, we made progress and we were hard to play against. Again, I thought it was a great season. Obviously we didn’t want it to end this way. We wanted to advance to the WCHA Final Five, but it didn’t happen. But, that didn’t take anything away from the season we had.”