Turning the Tide
Bemidji State Sees Magical Run Slip Away In Matter of Minutes
by Dane DeKrey/Staff Writer
by Dane DeKrey/Staff Writer
Bemidji captain Travis Winter
Bemidji captain Travis Winter on the loss to Miami, what the last two weeks has meant to the program and what the future will bring.
WASHINGTON, D.C. What a shame.
The Bemidji State Beavers battled for 180 minutes of playoff hockey, most of it in championship form, only to see its Cinderella-storyline unravel in a matter of minutes.
To be precise, the unraveling took place during a three minute stretch halfway through the second period in the Beavers’ semifinal loss to Miami. It was an all too familiar chain of events:
First, a momentum shifting power play goal for Bemidji State, off the stick of sophomore Matt Read, to bring the game to 2-1; only for Miami to regain its two goal lead just one minute later on a rebound goal by senior forward Bill Loupee.
“That was obviously a big goal for them,” said captain Travis Winter. “It was one of the bigger shifts of the game, after you score a goal you try to win the next shift, and unfortunately we didn’t. We thought we were tilting the ice a little bit and then they scored their goal, and that was a huge goal. It was probably a turning point in the night.”
There was no probably about it – after Miami’s third goal, a different Bemidji State team took the ice. The speed and mistake-free execution displayed by the Beavers in its previous two games against Notre Dame and Cornell was non-existent on Thursday night.
But it wasn’t just a lack of execution by Bemidji State; it was also the play of the RedHawks, who were far superior on the night.
“We got beat by a better team tonight,” said coach Tim Serratore, matter-of-factly. “They were strong, they were quick, they reacted well, every facet of their game was very good – hats off to Miami.”
The highlight of Miami’s evening, fittingly, was also the lowlight of Bemidji State’s.
The RedHawks remained resilient after the Beavers power play goal, weathering the storm of support for Bemidji State from the majority of the stadium’s fans, and came back with the team’s best shift of the evening, the shift that proved the beginning of the end for Bemidji State.
“It was a bad shift for us,” lamented goaltender Matt Dalton. “They got the puck in deep and it felt like my head was on a swivel because they were buzzing back and forth. They had us in there for a good 30-40 seconds and we were getting tired. It was a huge shift for sure and you have to give credit to them; they pinned us in there the whole shift.”
But even after the goal that put the game to 3-1 in Miami’s favor, Bemidji State was afforded a golden opportunity a little over a minute later. A hooking penalty by Miami’s Tommy Wingels left Miami a man down and gave Bemidji State a chance to capitalize on the power play once again.
Instead, the Beavers stumbled through their worst power play of the night.
“I think we were pressing a little bit there on the power play,” said senior Tyler Scofield. “Like I said, when they come back and make it a two goal lead again, you go from pretty high to pretty low quick and you start doing some things that you normally wouldn’t do. I think it was definitely related to that.”
After the man advantage, nothing seemed to go right for the Beavers the rest of the game. They struggled at center ice, they struggled getting pucks on net, and worst of all, they struggled to generate any real scoring opportunities in the third period.
“We saw on the bench the same thing you saw – we couldn’t get going,” said Serratore. “We had a hard time sustaining pressure and we weren’t getting pucks deep. Our coaching staff was telling the guys to get some pucks on the net, just the basic hockey talk to get your guys going, maybe get a greasy one and maybe you can feed off that.”
Sadly for Serratore’s Beavers, the third period was grease free, and with an empty net goal to close, Miami secured itself a spot in Saturday’s championship game, winning the game by a score of 4-1.
Despite the team’s season-ending loss, Bemidji State held its head deservedly high.
“It’s been a good run,” said Winter. “I’m real proud of our guys and real proud of being a Bemidji State hockey player.”
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