Michigan Tech at Bemidji State 02/03/16
BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) – Mike Soucier scored two goals and Tommy Muck added three assists to help lead the Bemidji State University men’s hockey team to a 4-2, series-opening, come-from-behind victory over Michigan Tech, Friday.
Slow out of the gate, the Beavers battled back from a pair of one-goal deficits to take their first lead of the game on a Leo Fitzgerald goal at the 5:52 mark of the third period, before adding an empty-net goal with 60 seconds left to solidify the Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory.
The Huskies had the Beavers on their heels early. Aided by more than two minutes of power-pay time, MTU out shot BSU 13-5 in the first period and drew first blood. Mitch Reinke found the back of the net with a slap shot from the top of the left face off circle to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead just 2:14 in.
The Beavers got the bounce they needed at the 7:19 mark of the period when Soucier fired a puck from the top of the zone and got the Michigan Tech goaltender crossed up. The shot bounced off his glove hand and rattled in. Jordan Heller was credited with an assist on the long pass out of the zone to start the scoring play.
Michigan Tech continued to shower Michael Bitzer with shots in the second period, out shooting BSU 14-9 to open a 27-14 edge in shots on goal through 40 minutes of play. At the 7:08 mark of the period, the Huskies got a shot through to regain its lead, 2-1, directly off an offensive zone face off. Cliff Watson was credited with the goal.
The Beavers regrouped and won the third period. Three of the team’s five shots on goal found the back of the net to propel BSU past the Huskies.
Soucier took a nice pass from Heller in the front of the crease and scored on a virtually empty net just 3:45 into the final period to equalize the score at 2-2. Two minutes and seven seconds later, L. Fitzgerald connected on a slap shot from between the dots for his fifth tally of 2016-17 and Kyle Bauman scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season at the 19-minute mark to put the game away.
Bitzer’s 33-save performance loomed in the shadows of the third-period comeback, making several game-saving stops during the first 40 minutes of play to keep the Beavers in position to strike. He also backstopped a BSU penalty-kill unit that was a perfect 3-for-3. He moves to 17-10-3 on the season and surpassed Robin Cook (1992-96) for eighth place (2,115) on BSU’s all-time saves list with 2,130. He also moved into a tie with Dan Bakala (2008-12) for 10th place on BSU’s career wins list with 44 (44-37-11) during his first three seasons in the green and white.