BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) - Knotted at 3-3 and more than two minutes into 3-on-3 overtime play, Bemidji State University's Lukas Sillinger skated end to end with the puck and found Ross Armour on the left post for a game-winning tap in to clinch the victory, 4-3, secure and extra point in the standings, and split the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series with No. 3 Minnesota State University.
Sparked by a power-play unit that scored on its first two opportunities of the night, BSU was led by Sillinger, Elias Rosén, Brendan Harris and Tyler Vold, who each collected two points in the game. Sillinger and Rosén each posted a goal and an assist, while Harris and Vold each accounted for a pair of helpers. In addition, Zach Driscoll made 24 saves and was the last line of defense for a penalty-kill unit that shut one of the top power-plays in the country down, snuffing out all three of MSU's man advantage opportunities.
Bemidji State took advantage of a Minnesota State penalty early to grab the first lead of the game. With Todd Burgess in the penalty box for holding, Elias Rosén took BSU's first shot on goal of the game and converted a one-timer from the right faceoff circle into his fourth goal of the season at the 4:00 minute mark of the first period. Both Alex Ierullo and Brendan Harris were credited with assists on the power-play goal.
BSU's lead lasted just 3:08. At the 7:08 mark of the first, Walker Duehr corralled a turnover behind the BSU net and found Reggie Lutz skating down the slot and Lutz found the back of the net.
Even at 1-1 to open the second period, the Beavers made good on their second power-play opportunity of the evening to take the lead at the 6:11 mark. Vold found Sillinger at the top of the left faceoff circle and the freshman unleashed a rocket that got past the MSU goaltender, Dryden McKay, for his fifth goal of the season. Fellow rookie, Eric Martin, was also credited with an assist on the scoring play.
Minnesota State clawed its way back into the game later in the second. The Beavers turned over the puck and Julian Napravnik slid a pass to Brendan Furry for a short-handed equalizer at the 12:30 mark. The Mavericks looked to have taken their first lead of the game just minutes later. With Jake Livingstone in the box for cross checking, MSU's Lutz intercepted a pass aimed to exit the zone and fired the puck into a virtually open net. After review of the play, game officials determined that an MSU player interfered with Driscoll, which left the net open.
The third period started with the teams again deadlocked. MSU jumped into the lead, 3-2, just moments into the frame. Walker Duehr score and even-strength goal just 48 seconds after the opening faceoff. But the MSU lead was short-lived. At the 3:41 mark of the third, Rosén and Harris set up senior captain Ethan Somoza for his team-leading 11th lamplighter of the season, and his fifth goal in BSU's last four games. The goal would eventually push the game to overtime and supply Armour a moment to shine.
BSU's victory over MSU marked the Beavers' fifth win over a nationally-ranked team (5-4-1) this season and stands and the only blemish on the Mavericks' WCHA record to this point in 2020-21. The reigning regular season champion MSU moves to 16-3-1 overall and 11-1-0 in WCHA play. BSU has now accounted for two of the Mavericks' three losses and its only draw.
The 10-7-3 Beavers are now 5-4-1 in WCHA play. BSU now embarks on a hectic week of WCHA play. The Beavers welcome Lake Superior State University to Sanford Center for a rare Tuesday-Wednesday series before capping the regular season with a home series versus longtime rival University of Alabama-Huntsville March 6-7.