The Bemidji State Beavers scored a fluky goal with less than two minutes to go in regulation to break a 2-2 tie and skate away with a 4-2 win over the UNO Mavericks in game one of the best-of-three WCHA playoff series at Qwest Center Omaha.
The loss puts the Mavericks one game from elimination from the WCHA playoffs. Game two of the series will be played on Saturday night at 7:07 p.m.
The Beavers are now 4-0-1 against UNO this year. They are the only WCHA team the Mavericks have not beaten.
Trailing 2-1 entering the third period, UNO’s Terry Broadhurst tied the game when he banked the puck in off a sharp angle at 6:44.
The Mavericks continued to dominate play, heavily outshooting the Beavers. But BSU’s Jamie MacQueen threw the puck off the right wing wall to the slot where it hit the skate of a UNO defender and ricocheted past John Faulkner at 18:07.
Then with the Mavericks pressing up ice, Matt Read was sprung the other way and took a moment before firing a wrist shot past Faulkner for the final margin.
Faulkner was pressed into service early when the Beavers got a 2-on-1 just 34 seconds into the game. Matt Read fed Ian Lowe for a one-timer, but Faulkner slid across and snared the shot, saving a sure goal.
At the other end, Dan Bakala was equally impressive, robbing Zahn Raubenheimer on a rebound chance later in the period to keep the game scoreless after one.
The Beavers broke the ice in the second period when Jordan George stole the puck at center ice and raced down the right wing, beating Faulkner with a shot under the cross bar at 4:53.
BSU doubled its lead on another UNO turnover. Ian Lowe raced up ice and snapped a wrister past Faulkner to make it 2-0.
UNO battled back on the power play. Matt White fed Ryan Walters in front of the net, and he steered home his tenth goal of the year to make it 2-1 Beavers after two.
Faulkner took the loss with just 13 saves as the Mavericks outshot the Beavers a whopping 48-17. Dan Bakala made 46 saves to earn the win.