Jan. 23, 2010

Courtesy of Bemidji State

BEMIDJI, Minn. (John S. Glas Fieldhouse) -- Ian Lowe (Jr., F, Bradwardine, Manitoba) posted two goals and an assist and Dan Bakala (So., G, Calgary, Alberta) piled up 29 saves as the No. 14 Bemidji State University men's ice hockey topped No. 4 University of Minnesota Duluth, 4-1, to open a nonconference home-and-home series at the John S. Glas Fieldhouse.

In the premier match up on the college hockey docket Friday, the Beavers prevailed in typical BSU fashion playing stingy team defense and out working the Bulldogs to create scoring opportunities.

Lowe netted his 10th goal of the season to open the scoring at the 11:03 mark of the first period. BSU's play making defender Brad Hunt (So. Ridge Meadows, British Columbia) found freshman Jordan George (F, Madison, Wis.) behind the net, who in turn, passed the puck to Lowe crashing the net.

The Beavers took the 1-0 lead into the locker room at the conclusion of the first period and held it through the second, thanks to selfless defensive play and a hot goaltender.

Bemidji State killed off all four of the Bulldogs' power-play opportunities during the first 40 minutes, including, 44 seconds of 5-on-3 play, and held the one-goal lead despite being out shot 12-6 in the second stanza alone.

BSU opened the third period on the attack. Hunt and the Beavers capitalized on their first power-play opportunity of the final frame when the sophomore rifled a shot from the point that made its way through traffic and past Kenny Reiter to put the Beavers up 2-0. Jamie MacQueen (So., F, St. Thomas, Ontario) and Lowe were credited with assists on the play.

With a two-goal lead just four minutes into the third, the Beavers kicked the pedal to the floor and buried the Bulldogs with goals from Lowe and Brance Orban (Fr., F, Lethbridge, Alberta) prior to the 12-minute mark. Lowe simply out hustled everyone on the ice taking a shot off the pipe in his own zone and though traffic in the neutral zone before deflecting the puck off Reiter's back for the second two-goal night of his career (9:54). Seventy-six seconds later, Orban struck for the third time in BSU's last two games, firing a shot from the right face off circle to end Reiter's night.

The Bulldogs would get on the board with just 4:26 to play as their top scorer, Jack Connolly, put a power-play marker past Bakala with help from Rob Bordson and Mike Connolly.

The BSU penalty-kill unit held UMD scoreless in their first five man advantage chances and finished the night 5-for-6. The unit has allowed just three power-play goals in the Beavers' last five outings--a streak spanning 24 opportunities (.875). The BSU power-play unit scored on one of its four chances.

Bakala was sharp tonight to say the least, but had plenty of help from his teammates who watered down the potent Bulldog offensive attack by deflecting 27 shot attempts before they had a chance to reach the crease. The sophomore improved to 13-3-2 with the win, allowing just one goal in 59:53 between the pipes.

Reiter was tagged with the loss after giving up all four BSU goals in 51:05 of work. He finished with 20 saves. Brett Hjelle stopped two shots and held BSU scoreless working the final 8:42 of play.

After being swept by Minnesota Duluth last year, BSU used Friday's victory to close the Bulldog's lead in the all-time series to 18-8-0 and close their game at the Glas with a 4-3-0 edge over UMD. The victory over the nationally-ranked Bulldogs also allowed the Beavers to improve to 2-0 versus top 5 teams in 2009-10. BSU also knocked off No. 1 Miami University (Ohio) Nov. 27.

The Beavers (16-5-2) and Bulldogs (16-8-1) will be back at it again tomorrow when they take the ice at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center for the final time. Much like BSU, Minnesota Duluth is set to open their new hockey facility next door to the DECC in Dec. of 2010. The series finale is scheduled for a 7:07 opening face off.