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The Fighting Sioux are looking to end the Bemidji State Beavers season and advance to the WCHA Final Five in St Paul next weekend.
The Fighting Sioux have hosted the first round of the WCHA playoffs for 10 seasons in a row and have made the Final Five nine seasons in a row.
That is currently the WCHA’s longest streak. The Fighting Sioux are looking to make it 10 straight trips to the Final Five.
The Fighting Sioux are one game closer to that feat as they won game one of the series 4-1.
Eliminating the Beavers is not going to be an easy task; the Bemidji State Beavers are a small, quick and tenacious team that gets pucks deep and fore checks the opposition relentlessly. The Beavers are on top of you from the drop of the first puck to the final horn of the game.
Tonight was no different.
True to form, the upstart Beavers didn’t disappoint and they bottled up the Fighting Sioux and gave them a small number of offensive opportunities and carried the play for a good part of the game.
The Beavers proved against tonight that they are a tough team to play against and they didn’t give the Fighting Sioux very much and they took away the Fighting Sioux’s time and space.
Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol seemed happy to get the win in tonight’s game.
“Well we got a win in game one of the series, playing against a good hockey team, that played awful hard tonight,” Hakstol said.
“If you look at our performance there was a lot of good to it, much too sporadic for playoff time. We need to challenge ourselves tomorrow to be at a higher level, on a more consistence basis throughout our game.”
Tonight, was the night of the goaltender.
Fighting Sioux junior goalie Aaron Dell brought his “A” game against the Beavers and he kept them off of the score sheet for the first 54.08 of the game, stopping many grade “A” opportunities, many of them many of them down low, the Beavers also hit three pipes.
Dell would finally get beat by an Aaron McLeod goal on the power play at 14:08 mark of the third period. I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say that Aaron Dell was the difference in this game and a bright spot for the Fighting Sioux tonight. Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol agreed.
“I thought it was a close game, scoring chances were probably close to even if not dead even,” Hakstol said. “Aaron [Dell] did a good job tonight; he has done for us the last few weeks.”
On the other end of the ice Bemidji State Beaver senior goalie Dan Bakala was also very good stopping 19 of 23 shots many of them were grade “A” scoring chances as well. Beaver head coach Tom Serratore was impressed with both goaltenders. “I thought both goaltenders played very well,” Serratore said. “It was a very good goaltending duel.”
For the Fighting Sioux, junior forward Carter Rowney led the Fighting Sioux with three assists tonight.
With the loss tonight, the Beavers drop to their record to 17-17-3 and need to win game two of tomorrow night’s series to stay alive. Tomorrow night, it’s win or go home for the Beavers.
With the win tonight the Fighting Sioux improve their record to 21-12-3. Game two in the best of three series is tomorrow night at 07:07 pm.