BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- Owen Sillinger posted a career-high three assists and four different Bemidji State University players scored goals as the Beavers broke a 2-2 tie with three goals during the final 20 minutes of a 5-2 victory over Ferris State University to open a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series.
The Beavers opened up a two-goal lead netting two even-strength tallies during the first 7:24 of play.
Alex Ierullo got the Beavers on the board at the 4:24 mark when he corralled a Elias Rosen rebound and buried his second goal of the season. Three minutes later (7:24), Sillinger won an offensive zone face off to Darby Gula and the sophomore defender ripped his first collegiate goal past the FSU goaltender, Austin Shaw. The assist sparked a tremendous night for Sillinger on the scoresheet and the faceoff dot. In addition to his three helpers, he posted a game-high 17 faceoff wins.
Before the first period came to an end, the Bulldogs clawed back to tie the game, 2-2.
Marshall Moise lit the FSU side of the scoreboard at the 14:49 mark with help from Joe Rutkowski and Jason Tackett. Just 58 seconds later Justin Michaelian added his fourth goal of the season to equalize the score.
Despite out shooting the Bulldogs 18-6 and getting a pair of power-play chances in the second period, the Beavers were unable to find the back of the net and went into the final frame locked in a 2-2 tie.
The Beavers needed just 91 seconds of third-period play to regain the lead. Sillinger stole the puck on the side wall, skated past the FSU defenders, through the neutral zone and found Aaron Miller in the slot. The Beavers' leading scorer fired a bullet past Shaw for his 10th goal of the season. Charlie Combs stretched the BSU lead to 4-2 after after splitting the Bulldog blueline and firing a laser past Shaw. Freshman blueliners Elias Rosen and Will Zmolek each collected their second assist of the night on the play.
With a two-goal cushion and 2:24 left on the clock, BSU's Aaron Miller was whistled for hooking to supply FSU with its first power-play opportunity of the evening. FSU pulled Shaw for 6-on-4 advantage with just under two minutes to play. The gamble was trumped by Ethan Somoza, who won a foot race to a loose puck just inside the BSU offensive zone. He collected the puck, spun around and placed a no-look backhand just inside the left post for an empty-net goal.
Making his fourth start of the season and second in as many games, Henry Johnson turned aside 13 of the 15 shots he faced, including 10 in the final two periods and backstopped a BSU penalty-kill unit that was a perfect 4-for-4, to earn his first victory of the season. He moves to 1-2-1.
The Beavers, now 9-7-3 overall and 9-3-1-0 in WCHA play, look for their third sweep of the season when they host Ferris State tomorrow. Opening faceoff is set for 6:07 p.m. at Sanford Center.