Bemidji State hockey team stuns No. 11 Lake Superior State 3-2 in overtime on Bakala’s save, George’s goal

Jordan George scored with 41 seconds left in overtime to lift the Bemidji State men’s hockey team to a 3-2 victory over No. 11 Lake Superior State on Friday in Sault St. Marie, Michigan.

The Beavers scored twice in the first period on goals from Jamie MacQueen and Shea Walters. Lake Superior State rallied with goals from Kevin Czuczman in the second period and Buddy Robinson in the third period to force overtime.

BSU was outplayed for the first half of the game and leaned on the play of goalie Dan Bakala, who made 24 saves in his second straight start including a highlight-reel stop to save the game before George’s goal.

Lake Superior State goalie Kevin Kapalka finished with 23 saves.

“That was a heck of a win and I’m proud of the guys,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “That was a tough one for a period and half. I thought the third period the Beavs were good. We cycled and pressured well. Whether we lost or tied the game, the third period was a very good period for us.”

Bemidji State (4-5 overall, 2-4 WCHA) and Lake Superior State (7-2 overall, 5-1 CCHA) wrap up the non-conference series Saturday night at 6 p.m. at Taffy Abel Arena.

The Beavers were outshot 11-5 in the first period Friday but came away with the lead after 20 minutes.

“That was the only thing that was saving us – we had a lead,” Serratore said. “That happens in hockey. They were taking it to us but we were opportunistic.”

MacQueen blocked a shot at the BSU blue line, stepped around defenseman Andrew Perrault for a breakaway and beat Kapalka with a backhand move for a 1-0 lead. His first goal of the season came on BSU’s second shot of the game.

The Beavers then killed two consecutive Laker power plays and scored with 5:09 left in the period. Darcy Findlay crossed the blue line, passed to Hunt and his shot deflected off Walters at the top of the crease for the 2-0 lead. It was the fourth goal of the season for Walters.

Czuczman scored from the high slot seven minutes into the second period to cut Bemidji State’s lead to 2-1.

The Beavers were able to take the lead into the third period on the stellar play of Bakala through the first two periods. His point-blank save on Stephen Perfetto’s shot during an odd-man rush was his biggest during a 10-save second period.

Robinson tied the score for the Lakers with a long shot from the wall 6:53 into the third period.

From there out Bemidji State controlled the game. The Beavers outshot the Lakers 12-8 in the third period and drew a penalty in the opening seconds of the overtime period.

The Beavers won on a wild sequence of events in the final minute of overtime.

Bakala saved the game when Perfetto, all alone in front of the net, put a hard shot on goal and Bakala batted the puck away with his blocker with just over 50 seconds to play.

“He (Bakala) said he almost put it in the net himself – you just hope you can catch the last break,” Serratore said.

The puck dropped to the stick of Brady Wacker, who passed it to Boehm and he carried it down to the Lakers goal line. Kapalka kick saved the sharp-angle shot but the rebound came out to George’s stick between the circles and he didn’t miss for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.

Scoring Summary

BSU 2 0 0 1 – 3
LSSU 0 1 1 0 – 2
First period- 1, BSU MacQueen 1 (unassisted), 4:24. 2, BSU Walters 4 (Hunt, Findlay), 14:51.
Second period – 3, LSSU Czuczman 1 (Campbell), 7:09.
Third period – 4, LSSU Robinson 3 (Trotman), 6:53.
Overtime – 5, BSU, George 5 (Boehm, Wacker) 4:19.
Shots on goal – BSU, 6-6-12-2-26. LSSU, 7-10-8-1-26.
Goalies – BSU, Bakala (26-24). LSSU, Kapalka (26-23).
Power Plays – BSU, 0-for-2. LSSU, 0-for-3.

Follow Eric Stromgren on Twitter at @estromgren and on Facebook.