Huskies fall in overtime outdoors at Bemidji

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Michigan Tech lost 4-3 in overtime to Bemidji State Friday (Jan. 18) on an outdoor rink on the shores of Lake Bemidji as part of the 13th annual Hockey Day in Minnesota. The Beavers never led in the game, scoring the game-winner on the power play with 1:55 remaining in overtime.

"The experience was a good one for the players," Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. "The play got better as the game went on, and the ice held up just fine.

"We obviously have to get a lot better as a team. That's four straight games in a row that we've been tied in the third period against a good team. We have to find some poise and some ways to get better."

The Huskies held the lead three different times. Brian Halonen put the Black and Gold in front 2:35 into the game, scoring his sixth of the season. Jake Jackson threw the puck on net from the half wall, and Halonen was alone out front and deflected it into the back of the net. Andrew Bellant also assisted.

The Beavers responded with the equalizer only 30 seconds later on a goal by Ethan Somoza. Adam Brady and Ross Armour assisted.

Todd Kiilunen put the Huskies back in front at 15:28 of the first period, scoring his first career goal on a shot from the point. Eric Gotz and Greyson Reitmeier assisted on the play.

"Reitmeier's line had a great shift down low," Kiilunen said. "I think Beretta crossed the goalie, and the D followed him. I just tried to get the shot on net, and it happened to go in."

BSU scored six seconds into the second period to knot it up at two. The Beavers won the faceoff, and Dan Billett flipped the puck from past center ice and it bounced past Robbie Beydoun.

Gavin Gould finished off a setup feed by Jake Lucchini 3:27 into the second period for a 3-2 Tech advantage. It was Gould's seventh of the season with Dylan Steman adding the secondary assist.

"The conditions weren't very great, and it was hard to make good plays out there," Gould said. "We were able to get in deep and make a cycle down behind the net. I beat my guy off the boards, and Luch made a nice play to me, and I had a little room to get it in."

Jay Dickman tied it up for the home team with a breakaway 3:19 later. Brad Johnson and Nick Cardelli were credited with the assists.

Neither team scored in the third period. Jake Jackson rung a shot off the post with 8:20 remaining. Beydoun came up with a huge save in the final minute on a shot through traffic by Tommy Muck.

Tech was whistled for a penalty 1:06 into the overtime. The Beavers capitalized on the ensuing power play when Dillon Eichstadt shot the game-winner through traffic and into the back of the net. Armour and Muck assisted.

Shots in the game were 43-36 in favor of the Beavers. Beydoun finished with a career-high 39 saves. Zach Driscoll made 33 saves for the team in white.

Tech falls to 11-12-2 overall and 10-6-1-1 in the WCHA. BSU improves to 11-11-3 overall and 9-7-1-0 in league games.

The temperature was -10 degrees at puck drop. That didn't stop a sellout crowd of 4,201 to show up for the first men's college game on the Hockey Day Minnesota outdoor rink.

"Obviously, it was pretty cold, but it wasn't that bad," added Gould. "We were bundled up pretty good, and the bench was warm. It wasn't how we felt but how much it affected the hockey with the sticks, puck, and ice."

"It was cold," Kiilunen said. "The heated bench definitely helped out. My toes were cold, but it was a fun experience for sure."

Tech has played three outdoor games in the modern era. All three games have gone to overtime. Tech tied Michigan State in 2013 at Comerica Park before winning a shootout to advance to the 54th Great Lakes Invitational Championship Game. The Huskies lost to Western Michigan the next night.

The Huskies and Beavers will wrap-up the WCHA series and play for the fourth time this season on Saturday (Jan. 19). Puck drop is set for 8:37 p.m. inside the Sanford Center.