Hanover, NH- In the consolation game of the Ledyard Bank National Classic, Bemidji State took an early 1-0 lead two minutes, 12 seconds into the game on a goal by Markus Gerbrandt. UNH would respond 13 minutes later, as Grayson Downing would get a feed from Trevor van Riemsdyk in the right circle and he stayed true to tie the game at 1. The Wildcats would score the lone goal in the second period, as Jay Camper would send the game into the third period a 2-1 game in favor of UNH.
The third period was much different than the first two, as Bemidji made it a game when Jordan George tied the contest at two nine minutes into the third period. That tie would hold and send the game into overtime where Trevor van Riemsdyk fired a shot from the high slot past Bemidji goaltender, Andrew Walsh to give UNH a much needed win. UNH improves to 12-3-2 on the season, while Bemidji State falls to 5-10-3.
What I Saw
- Bemidji caught UNH early in the game just standing around, but this woke up a UNH team that struggled mightily on Sunday night against Dartmouth with effort. For much of the first and second periods the Wildcats dominated the territorial play on the Beavers. The shots after two were 23-13 and this was very telling of how the possession stacked up. It seemed as though Bemidji just could not get out of the neutral zone.
- Bemidji struggled on the specialty teams all weekend and it was evident on this night as UNH scored a power-play goal to tie the game in the first period and Bemidji failed to get anything going on its power-play opportunities. UNH dominated possession on the lone power-play that Bemidji had and actually had three quality opportunities on the penalty-kill.
- UNH struggled to bury their opportunities when they had them. In the second period, they were unable to give themselves an insurance goal despite having many great opportunities to do so. UNH made a knack of buring thise opportunities early in the season and since they have struggled in this department they have failed to win games.
What I Thought
- The response from UNH after the struggle against Dartmouth showed their grit and character. It could have been easy to come out flat and get outhustled and outworked, but it was the opposite that happened for them on this night. They were the aggressors and dictated pace for the whole 92 minutes in the contest. The effort was there but the finishing ability still leaves a lot to be desired for them.
- The game itself had a lot of pace to it and it definitely favored UNH. Bemidji was unable to slow down UNH in the neutral zone for large stretches of the game and the shot clock showed that fact. Bemidji goaltender, Andrew Walsh, gave his team the chance to win and they forced the game to overtime, but an overtime loss is still a loss in the books. Character losses are non-existent in hockey and is something that the Bemidji Coach stressed in the press conference.
- The difference in the game was the UNH fourth line on this night. The line of Dan Correale, Jay Camper and Matt Willows had multiple opportunities on the night and were easily the three best players on the ice for UNH. It was only fitting that they would be on the ice for the game-winner, which they were. Neither of these players were on the ice last night for the loss and they just seemed hungry to prove that they belong in the lineup. On this night, no matter who they were up against, first line included, they generated chances and were the agressors. For a line that has struggled to gain any consistency this season, Dick Umile may have found three diamonds in the rough.
What They Said
UNH Coach Dick Umile said,
“Our team played hard tonight and it would have been disappointing if we didn’t win. We came out and played hard. Our fourth line played really well tonight and we put them in their at the end getting back to van Riemsdyk. They just got it done for us tonight.”
UNH Forward Grayson Downing said,
“They are a good team and when they got that tying goal it was huge for them. Anytime a team scores is kind of deflating but its the next shift after that is important. Their goalie played well for them. You never want it to go to overtime but when you get the win it is a good feeling.”
Bemidji State Coach Tom Serratore said,
“It was a great effort for us tonight and it was a great hockey game. Again I thought we were in a good spot down to 2-1 against a team of UNH’s caliber in their backyard. I will take that any day of the week. We won the third period and we sent the game into overtime. They win a faceoff and that’s how the game ended.”
What Else You Should Know
UNH will return to action against RPI at home next Saturday night. The game will be televised on WBIN and will UNH’s last non-conference tilt of the season. With the win on this night, the Wildcats improved to 4-0-1 against the WCHA this season. This record will help them in the common opponents criteria of the Pairwise rankings.
Bemidji State returns to action this weekend hosting Western Michigan for two. This loss, despite being dominated for much of it, showed the character of the Beavers and showed they are able to hang with the best teams in the country. Before the break, Bemidji tied and won against highly touted Denver in a weekend series.