Men’s hockey Live Blog: Minnesota vs. No. 7 Bemidji State.

by Max Sanders

FINAL-After a close two periods, Minnesota opens the floodgates in the third, scoring two-goals on their way to a 4-1 win. The victory keeps Minnesota undefeated against Bemidji State all-time, with a career record of 7-0-0. The win also gives the Gophers four victories in its last five games. 5:31 3rd-Minnesota has now put the game out of reach. After fighting for the puck on the boards, Zach Budish won possession and found Mike Carman, who fired a one-timer past Bakala for the Gophers fourth goal of the night. GOPHER 4, BEMIDJI STATE 1. 6:25 3rd-After a wraparound shot by Sacchetti is wide of the net, Schroeder is in the perfect position and fires a one-timer from just outside the right face-off circle. The shot catches Bakala by surprise, as he had lost sight of the puck and it finds the back of the left side of the net. The power play goal gives the Gophers a two-goal with just over six minutes remaining. GOPHERS 3, BEMIDJI STATE 1. 7:31 3rd-Bemidji will have to attempt a comeback one-man down, as Ian Lowe is sent to the box for two minutes for slashing. 14:31 3rd-The speed of freshman Josh Birkholz is on full display. Birkholz dashed down the ride side of the ice past three Bemidji players, setting up a one-on-one with Bakala. The backhanded shot was knocked in the air and cleared away. 17:50 3rd-The power play carried over from the second period for the Gophers ends with no shots on goal. 2nd Intermission Re-Cap: Goals: Gophers 1, (Hoeffel); Bemidji State 0 Shots on Goal: Gophers 7; Bemidji State 10 Penalties: Gophers 4; Bemidji State 5 Instant Analysis: One of Minnesota’s biggest strengths heading into the series is also what has the Gophers with a one goal lead heading into the third period. The Gophers had entered the series killing 82 percent of opponents power plays, and there short-handed unit is keeping them with the lead tonight. Led by the great defensive effort by Kangas, the Gophers have stopped nearly five minutes of Bemidji power play, and in doing so shifted the momentum from Bemidji State to the Gophers. Each team had multiple chances to score in the second period. Bemidji State used its speed to generate multiple fast-breaks, but centering passes fell short, and shots managed were either stopped by Kangas or wide of the net. On the Gophers side they have had opportunities of their own. Hoeffel had a chance for another score, but his shot bounced off the top post. Minnesota will head into the third looking for its fourth win in five games. 00:00 2nd-A power play filled second period comes to a close, with Minnesota ahead 2-1. Bemidji had over four minutes with both one and two-man advantages but thanks to stellar saves by Alex Kangas, the Beavers were unable to score, keeping Minnesota’s lead at one. 00:19.6 2nd-Nothing comes of the Gophers power play, but with under a minute they will have another chance, as Bemidji’s Brad Hunt is sent to the box for hooking. 5:43 2nd-Minnesota will be on the power play, as Bemidji’s Jake Areshenko is sent to the box. 7:33 2nd-Bemidji State nearly tied up the game. The Beavers had a three-on-one, but the centering pass was too far out in front for the forward to put a shot on goal, and Minnesota maintains its one-goal lead. 9:38 2nd-Nearly five minutes of power play are killed by the Gophers, sending the crowd to its feet. Alex Kangas made save after save after save. Glove saves, chest saves, stick saves and kick saves were all used by Kangas, and what could have been a huge momentum shift for Bemidji instead had the adverse effect, rejuvenating what had been a quiet Mariucci crowd and giving all momentum to the Gophers. 11:00 2nd-The action in the second continues. A Bemidji shot is knocked away by Kangas and floats just on the outside of the red line, before a Minnesota player is able to knock it away far enough for Kangas to fall on the puck. Minnesota escapes a potential game-tying power play goal. The save has the crowd at Mariucci on its feet, and while Bemidji has the two-man advantage the Gophers appear to have momentum shifting to their side. 11:35 2nd-Bemidji returns to full strength, giving the Beavers a minute and a half of five-on-three play. 12:55 2nd-A Bemidji shot is put in net, but is waived off as a penalty had been called on Minnesota’s Mike Carman before the shot took place. Minnesota now has four men in the box. 13:40 2nd-Bemidji will now be on a four-on-three advantage, as Minnesota’s Kevin Wehrs is called for interference. Also sent to the box for Minnesota is Taylor Matson, called for holding. Bemidji will now have just under four minutes of power play as a result of three Gophers currently in the box. 13:52 2nd-Following a Kangas save, players from both teams got involved in extracurricular activities directly in front of the net, with Kangas taking exception to the late-contact by shoving a Beavers player. Bemidji’s Chris McKelvie and Minnesota’s Zach Budish were sent to the box for roughing. 15:23 2nd-For the third consecutive weekend Minnesota adds a power play goal. Coming during a 5-on-3, Mike Hoeffel took the pass from Cade Fairchild and put it past the glove side of Bakala to give Hoeffel his fifth goal of the season, and the Gophers the one-goal lead. GOPHERS 2, BEMIDJI STATE 1. 16:08 2nd-Make that a two-man advantage. Bemidji State’s Chris Peluso is sent to the box. 16:54 2nd-Minnesota will be on its third power play of the night, as Bemidji’s Emil Billberg is called for tripping. 17:23 2nd-After Sacchetti fell down just inside the Bemidji blue line, Mike Hoeffel took a pass and was all alone but his shot bounced off the top pipe, and the Gophers came within inches of taking the lead. INJURY UPDATE: Ryan Flynn suffered a leg injury in the first period and will sit out the rest of the game. No word on the severity of the injury yet, but updates on his condition will be provided as they become available. 1st Intermission Re-Cap: Goals: Gophers 1, (Sacchetti); Bemidji State 1, (George) Shots on Goal: Gophers 9; Bemidji State 5 Penalties: Gophers 1; Bemidji State 2 Instant Analysis: Bemidji State entered the weekend the No. 7 team in the nation, and through one period they are hanging right with the Gophers. The Beavers are a fast team which allows them to close gaps, intercept passes and force turnovers. Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said the Beavers would look to capitalize early on a Gophers turnover, and they did just that, scoring a breakaway backhanded goal. Minnesota tied up the game shortly after with a Sacchetti goal, but could not generate any scoring chances during their two power plays of the period. Bemidji State will enter the second with 35 seconds remaining on their power play. 00:00 1st-A closely fought first period comes to a close, with the score knotted at one. Bemidji State struck first, capitalizing on a Gophers turnover with a breakaway goal, but Minnesota responded just over a minute later, with Nico Sacchetti cleaning up the puck in front of the Beavers net to tie the game at one. 1:24 1st-Bemidji State will be on their first power play of the night, as Mike Carman was called for interference. 3:56 1st-The Gophers season-long futility on power play continues. While Minnesota had seemed to be making improvement on special teams as of late, they have struggled in the first period of tonight’s game, never posing a threat to Bemidji goalie Dan Bakala during either of their two power-play opportunities. 8:06 1st-Bemidji State’s Jordan George is sent to the box for cross-checking. The Gophers will now be on their second power play of the night. 10:20 1st-Minnesota manages zero shots on the power play, with the best chance coming by Bemidji State. The Beavers had a brief fast break, but the centering pass was deflected away from the net. The Gophers are now 2-36 on power play for the season. 12:20 1st-A delayed penalty is called on Bemidji State’s Darcy Findlay for interference. Minnesota will look for its third power play goal in as many series. 15:31 1st-Minnesota takes just over a minute to respond. Sparked by Schroeder, the Gophers drive down the ice and after a shot by Hoeffel, the puck remains in front of the net where in a crowded field Sacchetti is there to put it past Bakala and tie the game at one. BEMIDJI STATE 1, GOPHERS 1.

16:57 1st-A Gophers mistake turns into the first goal of the night. Kevin Wehrs was hit and lost the puck, which was recovered by Bemidji’s Jordan George who was left with a breakaway at the goal. George drove down the left side, closed into the center, and put a backhander past Kangas’ glove side for the breakaway goal. BEMIJDI STATE 1, GOPHERS 0.

In what is the biggest crowd at Mariucci thus far this season, there is a strong contingent of Bemidji State supporters spread throughout the crowd, but maroon and gold still reign most of the arena’s seats.