Walters Finds Scoresheet at Right Time
by Timothy Boger/CHN Reporter
ST. PAUL, Minn. The playoffs are made for heroes, and sometimes those come from the unlikliest of places.
Faced with a power play in overtime of its WCHA Final Five play-in game Tuesday, Bemidji State went with its second unit. Simply put, the top line, which includes captain Matt Read, who scored to tie the game earlier, had just been on the ice.
So Serratore went with the second power-play unit.
“I wanted to go with that group,” Serratore said. “They move the puck pretty well.”
The group included Shea Walters on defense, who hadn't scored a goal all season, despite having 13 assists.
The quick decision paid off. Dan MacIntyre picked up the loose puck off the faceoff and dished it to Walters, who just tried to get it on net.
“They were playing pretty soft, so once Dan [MacIntyre] passed it across I tried to shoot right away.”
The shot rolled past Minnesota-Duluth goaltender Kenny Reiter, and was enough to send the Beavers – ranked 10th in the WCHA and unranked nationally – to the next round.
Walters, a 24-year old junior from Hibbing, Minn., was asked if it was not only his first goal of the season, but biggest too.
“I would say yes,” he said, laughing.
It continues a surprising run for the Beavers, who upset No. 3-seeded Nebraska-Omaha in two games last weekend. BSU will face Denver in the WCHA semifinal Friday.
BSU was down 2-1 entering the third period, but its top line of Read, Jordan George and Ian Lowe came out of the locker room with the pressure they needed. Read waited for the right shot as he skated in front of the net and beat Reiter glove side to even it up.
Bemidji State had a golden opportunity to take the lead when Jamie MacQueen was taken down on a breakaway with. He was awarded a penalty shot, but Reiter turned MacQueen's attempt to go stick side.
The Beavers otherwise managed to control play most of the third and outshot the Bulldogs 8-5, withstanding a late Duluth push to keep the game tied.
“Scoring a goal in the first minute of the third period certainly put us on our toes and them on their heels,” Read said.
The overtime went back and forth and Serratore said both teams were afraid to make a mistake.
“That’s just the way overtimes are,” he said.
Until the Bulldogs made one, and Bemidji capitalized.
“We realize this is short turnover time against some of the best teams in the country," Serratore said. "We just have to dig down deep and find some gas in the tank. It’s going to be exciting for us.”