BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) - Tyler Kirkup capped a 3-on-3 overtime rush with his third goal of the season to give the Bemidji State University men's hockey team a 2-1 overtime victory over Lake Superior State Tuesday.
In a game that saw the Beavers and Lakers combine for just 28 shots during the first 40 minutes of play and was described as a "chess match" by BSU Head Coach Tom Serratore, it was Bemidji State that made the last and most important move. That move equated to the Beavers taking two-of-three points and climbing to within two points of fourth place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings with just three games to go in the 2020-21 regular season.
The Lakers caught the first break of the game when Kyle Looft was escorted to the penalty box at the 5:05 mark of the first period for elbowing. Before time would expire on the penalty, senior captain Ethan Somoza chipped the puck off the boards to fellow senior Brendan Harris in the neutral zone and Harris was off to the races. The Henderson, Nev. native split the LSSU defensemen, got the Lakers' goaltender to commit, skated backwards across the front of the crease and flipped a nifty back hand past Mareks Mitens for his seventh goal of the season. The goal also stood as the Beavers' fourth short-handed tally of the year and the first of Harris's collegiate career.
Trailing 1-0 to open the second period, LSSU got on the board at the 4:27 mark. William Riedelle fired a shot from the point that Zach Driscoll kicked to the side, but Pete Veillette was on the right post to put it back to even the score at 1-1.
The teams combined for 17 shots during the third period, which included 10 by the Lakers alone, but the goaltenders were perfect in the frame sending BSU to its eighth overtime game of the year and third straight.
Just over a minute into the extra period Elias Rosen corralled the puck behind the BSU net, found Alex Ierullo, who skated the puck into the and down the slot and a pass across the crease to Kirkup on the left post.
The more experience you get in situations like 3-on-3 play, the more comfortable you get. Tuesday BSU needed only 70 seconds to finish the Lakers off. The goal improves the Beavers' record in overtime this season to 3-2-3.
Driscoll, who was in net for the 20th time this season, turned aside 23 of the 24 shots he faced to collect his 10th win of the season. He is now 10-7-3.
The 11-7-3 Beavers are now 6-4-1 in WCHA play. BSU continues a hectic week of WCHA play Wednesday. The Beavers wrap up their league series with Lake Superior State University at 4:07 p.m. before capping the regular season with a home series versus longtime rival University of Alabama-Huntsville March 6-7.