BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- The Bemidji State University men's hockey team battled back from a pair of one-goal deficits and pushed Saturday's game to overtime, but 3:03 into the five-minute 3-on-3 frame, Northern Michigan University's Ben Newhouse fired the puck over the shoulder of Zach Driscoll to tilt the game in the Wildcat's favor, 3-2.
Led by Andre Ghantous, who logged a pair of assists, NMU left BSU chasing from the opening tap. Just 22 seconds after the puck dropped, the trio of Joseph Nardi, Ghantous and Michael Coletta teamed up on a nifty string of passes to get behind the BSU defense before Ghantous found Nardi on the far post for a tap-in goal to go up 1-0.
Trailing 1-0 to open the second period, BSU evened the score at the 2:07 mark on an unassisted goal from Sam Solensky. The sophomore got the puck deep in the NMU offensive zone, turned on the jets, carried it end-to-end and beat the Wildcats' goalie, Rico DiMatteo from the left faceoff circle for his first goal of the 2020-21 season. The goal sparked a solid period of play for the Beavers, who controlled play for long stretches and finished outshooting NMU 10-6 six in the stanza. One of those six shots found the back of the net to put Northern Michigan up by a goal, 2-1, as the teams skated to the locker rooms at the intermission.
BSU opened the third period as the aggressor. Just 2:59 into the frame, Brendan Harris funneled the puck toward the goal and captain Ethan Somoza was on the back door to tap in his seventh goal of the season to tie the game, 2-2. Aaron Miller was also credited with an assist on the play.
The score remained locked as two goals apiece through regulation setting up BSU's fifth overtime game of the season. The Beavers had their chances in extra time, which included a near miss just moments after the opening faceoff, but it was NMU and Newhouse that solved Driscoll 3:03 into 3-on-3 play.
Driscoll turned aside 24 shots in regulation and added three in overtime before the NMU goal to finish the night with 27 in 63:03, while backstopping a penalty-kill unit that snuffed out both of the Wildcats' power-play chances. He moves to 6-6-3 on the season.
BSU, now 7-6-3 overall and 2-3-1 in WCHA play, will get back on the road for a Feb. 19-20 series at Michigan Technological University. The puck will drop at 6:07 p.m. (CT) Friday to get the series underway and will conclude with a 5:07 p.m. (CT) opening faceoff Saturday from MacInnes Arena in Houghton, Mich.