Bemidji, Minnesota—Last night, the Bemidji State Beavers came out of the gate and were a tough team to play against. The Beavers got in the shooting lanes and took away the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ time and space and made skating through the neutral zone difficult.
Last night I said, the Beavers were giving another team fits, this time that same tenacious fore-check was on display at the Sanford Center in Bemidji and the Beavers were getting in the Gophers shooting lanes and taking away their time and space. It was a beaut to watch as the Beavers were giving the highly touted Gophers forwards little room to roam.
Tonight, the roles were reversed; the Gophers were the team that was giving the Beavers fits. The Gophers were allowed to move through the neutral zone freely with speed and the Beavers had little room to roam.
The Gophers were behind the Beavers defenders all-night long and ruined the Bemidji Beavers senior night beating them 5-1 on their home ice securing a tie for first place in the WCHA and a share of MacNaughton Cup.
As I mentioned above, it wasn’t a good night on the ice for the home team.
On two separate occasions, in the second period, the Gophers Nick Bjugstad and Erik Haula were left alone in the slot and they took that opportunity to bury the puck behind the senior Beaver goalie Mathieu Dugas. The Gophers would take a 2-0 into the first intermission.
The Gophers would outshoot the Beavers 10-6 in the first period.
At the 01:55 mark of the second period the Beavers were finally able to put a puck in the twine with a blast from Beaver Defenseman Matt Prapavessiss, to make the score 2-1 Gophers. That was all of the scoring the Gophers would get on the night as the Gophers would continue to make plays.
The Gophers would push the lead to 3-1 with a nice goal by Zach Budish.
After the two periods of hockey, the Gophers outshot the Beavers 33-16.
The Gophers put the icing on the cake in the third period, putting two more goals past the Beaver’s goalie in the third period with goals from Jake Parenteau and Christian Isackson.
The Gophers would outshoot the Beavers 40-24 for the game and the game never really in any doubt after the second period, as the Gophers ran over, through and around the Beavers. For their efforts the Beavers (6-20-8, 5-16-7 WCHA) get to play the Gophers in Minneapolis next weekend.
Bemidji State Beavers head coach Tom Serratore was asked about the prospect of playing against the Gopher again next weekend.
“I would be lying to you, to sit there and say that we’re doing kart wheels that we’re going over there.” Serratore said. “There’s nothing you can do. That’s the draw that we have. We come to the rink on Monday with our heart in our head and we have to prepare for Minnesota.”
In the visitor’s locker room the Gophers (24-7-5, 16-7-5 WCHA) were posing with the MacNaughton Cup that just happened to be in the building.
While we were waiting for the Beavers head coach Tom Serratore, there was a buzz in the arena that the Wisconsin Badgers had beaten the Saint State Huskies 3-2 giving the Minnesota Gophers a share of the MacNaughton Cup.
Cross-posted at the Hockey Writers Combine.