The Bemidji State Beavers have proven to be giant killers as of late, after traveling to Omaha, Nebraska and beating the third place UNO Mavericks during the first round of the WCHA playoffs, the Beavers went into tonight’s game having everything to gain and nothing to lose. Their task is to secure an auto qualifier in NCAA tourney. Based on their Pairwise ranking and their record 15-17-5 the BSU Beavers are going to have to win the WCHA Final Five if they want to make the NCAA tourney.
Tonight with the win against the UMD Bulldogs the Beavers were successful in the first step of a long journey. The BSU Beavers now live to fight another night as they will play the Denver Pioneers tomorrow afternoon at 2:07 pm. Denver swept the Beavers back in November 3-1 and 4-2 at home. So if the Beavers want to move on to the next round of the Final Five they are going to have to go through the second place Pioneers. If the Beavers beat Denver they are going then have to play the winner of the UND-CC game; albeit a tall order but not impossible.
BSU down 2-1 going into the third period when senior forward Matt Read scored the eqfualizer at the 0:28 mark of the third period to send the game to overtime. The Beavers beat the fourth place UMD Bulldogs 3-2 in overtime as Shea Walters scored at the 06:12 mark of the first overtime to send the Bulldogs packing and the Beavers to the semis. It was the first goal of the season for the junior forward from Hibbing, Minnesota.
Quotes from the post game press conference
Mike Connelly, UMD Junior Forward
"We came in and we did what we had to do, take the lead, got the second one. We came into the third period with a 2-1 lead. We came out pretty flat and we were never able to recover. Our record shows that we've been [to overtime] quite a bit. I think we are all comfortable in overtime, but tonight obviously wasn't our night, mainly because of a lack of effort from the players. We need to regroup and get ready for the next weekend."
Scott Sandelin UMD Head Coach
On not having to play (potentially) three games in three days before the NCAA tourney...
"The one thing about this team all year is that when they've had their backs against the wall, they've responded the right way every time and I expect our team to do the same. For us it gives us some time to rest a little bit. We have some guys that are banged up, hurt, sick and that stuff. It's no excuse. They've played because they came here to win this tournament. We have another chance, so hopefully our guys can continue to do what they've done all year.
Shea Walters BSU Junior Forward
On his game winning goal in overtime...
"It was a big win off the draw. It got kicked up to Dan MacIntyre who made a nice pass across and [Jamie McQueen] had a nice screen in front fortunately it went in. I just wanted to get it on net as quick as I could."
Tom Serratore BSU Head Coach
On the game...
"First off, I'm just proud of the guys. It was a tough game. I felt in the second period that we didn't have good legs. I thought UMD took it to us, but we were only down one goal [heading into the period]. Read converting in the first minute of the third period really elevated our play. It was a great 3rd period and we were fortunate to get the last bounce in overtime."