BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- Zach Driscoll stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced and his teammates combined for four goals as the Bemidji State University men's hockey team extended its winning streak to four games with a 4-1 victory over No. 2 Minnesota State University Friday at Sanford Center.
Seven different BSU players notched at least one point in the game with Alex Ierullo and Tyler Vold leading the Beavers' attack with two assists apiece in the victory.
In a game that saw 10 penalties called and a total of nine power-play opportunities, it is no surprise that the game came down to special teams play and the Beavers won that battle. Not only did they manage to get a power-play goal (1-for-4), they snuffed out all five of the Mavericks' power-play chances (5-for-5).
Aaron Miller got BSU on the board just 1:26 after the opening faceoff when he followed a rush on the MSU goaltender Ryan Edquist. He gathered a rebound off an Alex Ierullo shot and found the back of the net. Senior defender Tyler Vold was credited with his first of two assists on the night.
MSU evened the score at the 8:36 mark. As the Mavericks cycled the puck around the zone Jake Livingstone found the upper corner with a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. Nathan Smith and Julian Napravnik were credited with assists on the play.
The teams opened the second period locked in a 1-1 game and MSU on the power play for the first two minutes of play due to a penalty on Miller as the first period horn sounded. However, the advantage was quickly equalized when MSU's was whistled for hooking just 1:10 into the period. BSU would use the penalty to its advantage. With seven seconds on left on the penalty (3:03), Brad Johnson beat the MSU goaltender from the point. The goal was his first of the season and marked a power-play goal for BSU. Ethan Somoza and Vold were awarded assists on the power-play goal.
Bemidji State stretched its lead to 3-1 late in the period. Ierullo picked off a MSU pass and skated the puck into the zone before dropping it off for Owen Sillinger, who deposited it into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
Up two goals, the Beavers locked down their defense in the third. BSU was outshot 11-2 in the final period, but stood tall in front of Driscoll. With 3:03 to go in the game, MSU head coach Mike Hastings pulled Edquist for an extra attacker. The tactic failed. Elias Rosen picked up the puck behind the net, saw a clear lane and fired a shot nearly 200 feet into the empty net to put the game out of reach, 4-1, with 1:16 left on the clock.
Driscoll improved to 6-4-2 with the victory.
The game, originally postponed from the second half of the Nov. 22-23 non-conference series to open the season, effectively split the series following a BSU 5-0 loss Nov. 22 to the then-No. 5 Mavericks with the 4-1 victory over two months later to close the series.
Not only have the Beavers, now 6-4-2 overall, won four straight since a 5-4 loss at Minnesota State Dec. 18, BSU is 5-1-2, which includes six games versus opponents ranked among the top five in the country according to the USAToday/USA Hockey Coaches Poll.
BSU shifts its focus back to Western Collegiate Hockey Association play Feb. 5-6 when it travels to Big Rapids, Mich. for a two-game set with Ferris State University. The puck will drop at 6:07 p.m. (CT) Friday before a 6:07 p.m. (CT) start again Saturday to wrap up the series from Ewigleben Arena.