Bemidji State rally comes up short in 4-2 loss to Wisconsin

Bemidji State's Aaron McLeod, right, and Wisconsin's Ryan Little skate after the puck during the second period. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

Jamie MacQueen almost bailed the Bemidji State men’s hockey team out of a sluggish start in Friday night’s 4-2 loss to Wisconsin Friday night at the Sanford Center.

The senior cut Wisconsin’s lead to 3-2 with a goal 80 seconds into the third period, but what looked to be the game-tying goal with 11:54 remaining was immediately waved off by referee Tim Walsh and the Beavers never recovered.

“As a player I think it’s good,” MacQueen said. “The way he described it, he said he had the intent to blow the whistle, so that’s his call and you can’t do anything about it I guess.”

The play, which cannot be reviewed by video under WCHA rules, started when Ben Kinne cut hard to the net and put a close shot on Wisconsin goalie Landon Peterson. MacQueen trailed the play and swatted at the puck in the crease.

“It’s the right call,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “He was putting the whistle in his mouth when it went in and he thought it was froze. That’s the rule, we’ve seen it a couple of times this year. When you need a goal so bad, you’re hoping they can overturn that but that was the intent. Those are the rules and you have to live by them.”

The disallowed goal was insignificant to Serratore in comparison to BSU’s play in the first and second periods.

The Beavers failed to score on three power plays in the first period and Wisconsin took control in the third period with three goals. Frankie Simonelli, Justin Schultz, and Michael Mersch scored in the second period, and John Ramage iced the win with an empty-net goal with 38 seconds remaining.

“We need to be better than that,” Serratore said. “We’ve had three Fridays in a row where we’ve been a little slow, have not had very good timing and have not been very hard to play against. We have to make sure we’re a different team tomorrow and hopefully we can play more like we did in the third period.”

Bemidji State (15-15-3, 9-13-3 WCHA) and Wisconsin (14-15-2, 9-14-2 WCHA) conclude the weekend series Saturday at 7:07 p.m. in the final regular season home game at the Sanford Center.

Friday’s marked Bemidji State’s third loss in a row and Wisconsin’s second road win of the season. BSU entered the game with the second-best home record in the WCHA and Wisconsin won its first road game since Jan. 13 at Minnesota State.

Bemidji State managed five shots on three first-period power plays before Areshenko gave the Beavers a 1-0 lead on a slap shot with 2:50 left in the period.

Wisconsin first two goals in the three-goal second period came on a pair of harmless-looking plays.

Simonelli’s dump into the BSU zone banked off the glass behind the net and into the goal off goalie Dan Bakala’s skate 3:57 in to tie the game. Shultz’s low shot on goal from the blue line just over two minutes later gave Wisconsin a 2-1 lead.

Wisconsin capped the controlling second period when Tyler Barnes fed Mersch on a two-man break and he picked the corner over Bakala’s shoulder for the 3-1 lead with 13 seconds left in the period.

The Beavers played a desperate game in the third period to shift the game’s momentum for a time.

MacQueen poked the puck through Peterson’s glove at the post 1:20 into the third period for BSU’s final goal.

Making his first start since October, Peterson made two key saves on Jordan George in the third period to keep Wisconsin in front. George, a Madison native, was stopped in close with 13 minutes to play and his tipped shot was pushed aside with just over nine minutes to play.

“We didn’t have our game,” MacQueen said. “It’s been an issue for us on Fridays as of late. It’s not good and we’ve got to fix that because it’s going to bite us.”

Scoring Summary

UW 0 3 1 – 4
BSU 1 0 1 – 2
First period – 1, BSU Areshenko 3 (Walters), 17:10.
Second period – 2, UW Simonelli 5 (LaBate), 3:57. 3, UW Schultz 14 (Mersch), 6:08. 4, UW Mersch 11 (Barnes, Zengerle), 19:47.
Third period – 4, BSU MacQueen (Kinne, Jubinville), 1:40. 5, UW Ramage 3(Zengerle), 19:22, (en).
Shots on goal – UW, 7-13-6-26. BSU, 11-8-11-30.
Goalies – UW, Peterson (30-28). BSU, Bakala (26-23).
Power plays – UW, 0-for-2. BSU, 0-for-5.

Photo Gallery

All photos by Eric Stromgren.

Mark Zengerle and Shea Walters

Landon Peterson, Ben Kinne

Landon Peterson and Aaron McLeod

Justin Schultz, Ben Kinne

Brad Navin, Aaron McLeod, Dan Bakala, Breandan Woods

Jamie MacQueen

Jordan George

Danny Mattson

David Boehm

Jordan George and Jake McCabe

Justin Schultz (not pictured) scores Wisconsin's second goal

Matt Carlson

Dan Bakala and Michael Mersch

Matt Prapavessis

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