Bemidji State Hands No. 1 Seed Notre Dame Stunning First-Round Loss
March 28, 2009
Courtesy of Western Michigan
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The No. 4 seeded Bemidji State upset No. 1 seeded Notre Dame 5-1 Saturday night at Van Andel Arena, handing the Irish its sixth loss this season and earning its first ever NCAA Division I Tournament win.
Junior forward Chris McKelvie scored just 1:42 into the first period, and the Beavers never looked back. Aggressive fore-checking by Bemidji State kept the Irish on its toes the whole game, never allowing the high-powered Notre Dame offense to get comfortable.
At 11:03, Brad Hunt fired a slap shot from the blue line off of a pass from Matt Read, breaking his stick in the process. Hunt’s shot was redirected by Tyler Scofield in front of the net and slid it through Notre Dame goaltender Jordan Pearce’s five-hole, putting the Beavers in front 2-0 with a game winning power play goal.
Ben Kinne pushed the Beaver lead to 3-0 mid way through the second period, tallying his eighth of the year. Ryan Cramer picked up just his second assist on the season and Shea Walters also picked up a helper.
Notre Dame opened the third period on the power play but it was the Beavers that capitalized. Just 49 seconds into the period Scofield, instead of dumping the puck to kill the penalty, found Read all alone towards the Irish zone. Read skated in on Pearce and buried it for a 4-0 Beaver lead.
Notre Dame finally got on a the board when Ryan Guentzel found Dan Kissel in front of the net, putting the Irish on the board at the 6:02 mark. Brett Blatchford also tallied a helper on the goal, but it did not spark the comeback that the Irish needed.
With Pearce out of the net at 16:33 of the third, Scofield had an unassisted empty net goal, and sealed Notre Dame’s fate. Scofield shined for the Beavers, tallying two goals and an assist in the upset.
Notre Dame returned to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year and the fourth time in the program's 41-year history. The Irish are 4-3 in the NCAA Tournament in its three previous appearances. In 2004, the Irish advanced to the Grand Rapids Regional to face two-time defending NCAA champion, Minnesota, dropping a 5-2 decision in the opening round game to the Gophers. Notre Dame also fell in the first round at the 2007 NCAA Regional in Grand Rapids, losing to eventual champions Michigan State.
Bemidji State made its third appearance in the Division I NCAA Tournament since 2000. Prior to earning DI classification, the team earned 13 NCAA Division II and III tournament berths in a 16-year span from 1983-98 and captured six national championships. The Beaver’s win marks just the second time a CHA team has won in the NCAA Tournament. Niagara was the first team to do so when they beat UNH in 2000.
Bemidji State advances to play Cornell Sunday at Van Andel Sunday night for a berth in the Frozen Four. Puck drop is at 8 p.m.