Bowling Green at Bemidji State 01/30/15
BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) — The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team defeated its third top 10 opponent in as many games as it knocked off No. 6 Bowling Green State University, 5-2, Friday at Sanford Center. John Parker, Jordan Heller, Gerry Fitzgerald, Charlie O’Connor and Kyle Bauman each notched goals, while Michael Bitzer earned his eighth win of the season after making 18 saves.
The Beavers opened the scoring at the 12:59 mark of the first period. O’Connor slide the puck across the top of the crease to Parker for an easy tap in to a virtually open net. Brett Beauvais was also credited with an assist after starting the rush.
The Falcons rallied to open the second period getting a goal off the stick of Nolan Valleau. The tally, which came at the 4:22 mark of the period, was his first of the season and the first of a two-goal night for the freshman.
Just under six minutes later, Heller found the back of the net for his first goal as a Beaver and put BSU in the lead for good.
Bowling Green would generate significant push back in the third period. Following a goal by G. Fitzgerald to give the Beavers a two-goal cushion, Valleau scored again to reel BSU to within a goal. The Beavers snuffed out a power-play with just over eight minute to play, the Falcons began to press and had several near-misses. With just over a minute to play, BGSU pulled its goaltender, Tommy Burke, and the Beavers made them pay. O’Connor netted his team-leading ninth goal of the season to extend BSU’s lead to two goals, 4-2. Forty seconds later, Bauman netted an empty-net goal to put the game out of reach.
Ten different BSU players logged at least a point, led by O’Connor and Bauman, who each posted a goal and an assist.
Bitzer backstopped a penalty-kill unit that held Bowling Green scoreless on three power-play opportunities, while BSU got a goal on the man advantage. Bitzer’s third straight victory bumps his record to 8-7-1 on the season.
Bemidji State improves to 10-12-3 overall and 6-8-3 in league play. The Beavers will try to run their current winning streak to four games tomorrow when they host BGSU to wrap up the two-game series. Opening face-off is set for 7:07 p.m. at Sanford Center. Those in attendance are encouraged to bring their skates for a chance to meet BSU players, get autographs and “Skate with the Beavers” following the game.
Bemidji State Notables:
- The victory marked the first time BSU has rattled off three straight wins over nationally-ranked teams since the 2011-12 season. BSU defeated (13) Denver, December 10 and swept (10) Colorado College, Feb. 10-11.
- Bowling Green leads the all-time series versus Bemidji State 4-3-0, however, BSU is a perfect 3-0-0 when hosting the Falcons at Sanford Center.
- Tonight’s 5-2 victory snapped a four-game losing streak to BGSU dating back to March 7, 2014.
- BSU is 4-8-0 versus nationally-ranked teams this season. In addition to No. 6 Bowling Green, wins include: at No. 2 North Dakota, Oct. 10; No. 7 Minnesota Duluth, Jan. 23 and No. 1 Minnesota State, Jan. 24.
- O’Connor netted his team-best ninth goal of the season—extending his career-best mark.
- O’Connor recorded the second multi-point game of his career.
- Kyle Bauman netted his third unassisted goal in as many games. Bauman now has four of BSU’s 11 unassisted goals. No other player has more than one.
- Bauman recorded his third multi-point game of the season.
- Tonight’s 5-2 victory, marked BSU’s ninth win when scoring more than four goals. BSU is now 1-12-2 when scoring three or fewer and are 9-0-1 when netting four or more.
- BSU is now 9-4-1 when scoring first.
- BSU is 7-4-1 at home this season. That’s BSU’s most wins on home ice since an 11-6-1 mark at Sanford Center in 2011-12.
- The Beavers are 5-0-1 at Sanford Center since Nov. 29.
- Since Jan. 9, Bauman has seven points (5g-2a) in seven games.
- BSU is 5-0-0 when Bauman scores a goal this season.
- Gerry Fitzgerald has cast the deciding goal in each of the Beavers last two games. The freshman leads the team with three game-winners.
- Since Dec. 12, Michael Bitzer is 6-2-1 in 541 minutes played with a 1.22 goals against average, a .946 save percentage and leads the country with three shutouts during that span.
- The BSU power-play unit was 1-for-3 Friday versus Bowling Green. The Beavers are now 15-for-92 (.163) on the man advantage this season.
- The BSU penalty-kill unit held the Falcons scoreless on all three of their power-play opportunities. BSU improves to 82-for-100 (.820) on the season.
- BSU has now snuffed out 36 of its opponents’ last 42 power-play opportunities and the unit is .889 on the kill since Dec. 5.