Minnesota State at Bemidji State 02/24/17
BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) – With the score deadlocked at 1-1 midway through the third period, Bemidji State University junior forward Gerry Fitzgerald fired a power-play goal to give the Bemidji State University men’s hockey team the lead and solidify its 20th win for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
The Beavers took an early 1-0 lead on Jordan Heller’s first goal of the season. Sophomore T.J. Roo forced a turnover in the neutral zone and got the puck to Heller who beat the Mavericks’ goaltender just 8:06 after the opening face off.
The one-goal lead would carry over into the second period.
Minnesota State grabbed momentum in the second period, out shooting BSU 14-8. When Brendan Harms was escorted to the penalty box for tripping at the 4:26 mark, it would set MSU up with its first power play of the night. The Mavericks took advantage of the opportunity when Marc Michaelis scored a goal from Brad McClure and C.J. Franklin 49 seconds later (5:15).
A busy third period for the Beavers’ special team units gave BSU the break it needed. BSU finished the night 1-for-3 on the man advantage, with all coming in the third, including the Fitzgerald goal while its penalty-kill unit was 1-for-2.
Michael Bitzer finished the night with 26 save to become the first BSU goaltender to pile up 20 wins in a season since Robin Cook went 20-5-1 en route to leading the Beavers to the NCAA Division II championship to cap the 1994-95 campaign. Bitzer leads the country in wins and is 20-11-3 overall.