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Bemidji State buries late equalizer, falls in OT to Alaska

Bemidji State senior Mike Soucier (13) pursues the puck in the first period against Alaska on Saturday at the Sanford Center. Jillian Gandsey / Forum News Service

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Justin Baudry brought the Sanford Center crowd to its feet with his game-tying goal in the waning moments of the third period, sending Saturday night’s game into overtime.

Alaska’s 19th skater Justin Young had other plans, stunning the Bemidji State men’s hockey team and the home fans with his goal 52 seconds into overtime, handing the Nanooks a 2-1 win.

“It’s so disappointing losing that game, especially when you come back so late in the game,” said Baudry. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t generate as much offense as we’d like. But that’s the outcome, and we have to face reality and move on.”

Baudry’s goal came on the power play with only 2 minutes, 9 seconds left in regulation.

“Our hard work paid off,” said head coach Tom Serratore. “And then obviously what happens is, you stub your toe in overtime, and the game’s over. All that work getting back into it, you find life, and then eventually the life gets sucked out of you.”

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association series ended in a split, the sixth in eight league series for the Beavers (10-11-3, 8-7-1-1 WCHA) this season.

Serratore said it’s difficult beating a team on the second night of any weekend, but that it’s no excuse for the loss.

“We put ourselves in a position in that overtime to get the game into 3-on-3 (overtime) or whatever and we didn’t,” said the coach. “We lost the game in overtime and that was unacceptable.”

The Nanooks (5-15-2, 5-10-1-1 WCHA) took a 1-0 lead early and nearly held onto it for the regulation win.

In the first period, Ryker Leer scooped up a rebound and buried it past a sprawling Zach Driscoll on his second try for the goal at the 7:44 mark of the frame.

The Beavers survived an extended power play in the second period.

With Dillon Eichstadt already in the box, Owen Sillinger was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind.

BSU killed off a nearly minute-long 5-on-3 advantage and the rest of five-minute major to hang within one goal entering the third period. The penalty kill held Alaska 0-for-8 on the power play for the weekend.

“Our whole bench was positive, we’re feeling good,” said Baudry, a senior defenseman. “The kill was really good for us all weekend.”

Barely two minutes from a shutout win, the Nanooks were unable to cling to the lead for any longer.

Baudry fired home a laser of a shot from long range for the game-tying, power-play goal late in regulation.

The game headed into overtime where the unlikely hero -- Young, Alaska’s extra skater -- redirected a centering pass from the doorstep for the winning goal. The NCAA only began allowing teams to dress 19 skaters for the first time this season.

Anton Martinsson saved 29 of 30 shots to pick up his first win of the season, improving to 1-11-1. For BSU, Driscoll turned aside 25 of 27 shots and fell to 5-5-1.

The Beavers will take it outside Friday, Jan. 18, when they face Michigan Tech for their series opener at 7:07 p.m. on the south shore of Lake Bemidji as part of Hockey Day Minnesota.

Baudry said BSU will regroup and learn from Saturday’s loss before tackling the Huskies.

“You just focus on all the positives, everything we did well,” he said. “We’ll watch video and see what we did well, see what we did not do well, and build off that and just move and keeping building for the playoffs.”