Bemidji State falls to Wisconsin 4-2 in first sweep allowed at home this season

Wisconsin's Frankie Simonelli, left, tries to maintain control of the puck as Bemidji State's Shea Walters, right, defends during the first period. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

The Bemidji State men’s hockey team lost to Wisconsin 4-2 Saturday night at the Sanford Center in the final home game of the regular season.

Wisconsin scored the final three goals of the game and Justin Schultz’s power-play score 3:47 into the third period put Wisconsin ahead for good.

Ben Kinne and Jordan George scored power-play goals for Bemidji State, and goalie Dan Bakala finished with 31 saves.

Brad Navin, Sean Little and Michael Mersch scored for Wisconsin, and goalie Joel Rumpel finished with 21 saves.

Wisconsin, which entered the weekend with one road win on the year, swept the Beavers after winning 4-2 on Friday night. It was the first sweep allowed on home ice this season for BSU, which is now on a season high four-game losing streak.

“It’s just two tough losses, we were inconsistent and we spent too much time in the penalty box tonight,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said.

Bemidji State (15-16-3, 9-14-3 WCHA) wraps up the regular season next weekend on the road at Alaska-Anchorage and will open the WCHA playoffs on the road the following week.

“We have to forget about these games now, go to Anchorage and go into the playoffs on a high note,” BSU defenseman Brad Hunt said.

Wisconsin (15-15-2, 10-14-2 WCHA) was dealt a big blow early in Saturday’s game when captain John Ramage was assessed a major misconduct penalty for contact to the head.

After going 0-for-5 on the power play Friday night, the Beavers scored on the ensuing five-minute power play when Kinne scored his 10th goal of the season. He jabbed the puck through Rumpel at the crease with 9:30 left in the period.

Navin tied the score 2:48 into the second period by putting back a rebound in front of Bakala.

George put BSU back up 2-1 on a power-play goal, his team-leading 16th of the season, with an open look at the side of the net five minutes later.

Little scored with 1:30 left in the second period to tie the game for the last time by taking a backhand pass from Frankie Simonelli and beating Bakala at the far side of the net.

Schultz put Wisconsin up 3-2 by picking the corner above Bakala’s shoulder on a shot from just inside the blue line with 36 seconds left in the checking from behind major penalty to BSU defenseman Jake Areshenko, who was lost for the game on the game misconduct penalty.

It was the 15th goal and 42nd point of the season for Schultz, an Anaheim Ducks draft pick.

Bemidji State’s attempts to score the tying goal were hampered by back-to-back minor penalties midway through the period. Kinne was called for an elbowing penalty 20 seconds after Darcy Findlay finished serving a boarding penalty.

“It was hard to get into a rhythm after giving up that goal on the five minute major for us,” Serratore said.

Mersch iced the game for Wisconsin by scoring an empty-net goal with 60 seconds remaining.

Scoring Summary

UW 0 2 2 – 4
BSU 1 1 0 – 2

First period – 1, BSU Kinne 10 (Walters, Hunt), 10:30, (pp).
Second period – 2, UW Navin 3 (Clark, Dahl), 2:48. 3, BSU George 16 (Walters, Hunt), 7:39, (pp). 4, UW S. Little 1 (Simonelli, Meuer), 18:30.
Third period – 5, UW Schultz 15 (McCabe, Zengerle), 3:47. 6, UW Mersch 13 (Dahl), 19:00, (en).
Shots on goal – UW, 6-16-13-35. BSU, 8-9-6-23.
Goalies – UW, Rumpel (23-21). BSU, Bakala (35-31).
Power plays – UW, 1-for-6. BSU, 2-for-4.
A- 3,891.

Photo Gallery

All photos by Eric Stromgren.

Jordan George, Joel Rumpel, Justin Schultz

Joe Faust and Darcy Findlay

Aaron McLeod

Ben Kinne, far left, scores the first goal for Bemidji State

Brendan Woods, Dan Bakala

Brendan Woods, Dan Bakala

Jamie MacQueen

Justin Schultz, Shea Walters, Joel Rumpel, Ben Kinne, Frankie Simonelli

Jordan George scores for Bemidji State in the second period

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