Mavs unable to solve Bemidji puzzle
UNO remains winless against the Beavers in Omaha
Published: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Updated: Saturday, October 27, 2012 17:10
Through 30 minutes of hockey, UNO appeared to have finally solved the Bemidji State puzzle. But after jumping out with two two-goal leads, the curse of the Beavers once again reared its ugly head and the Mavs were forced to settle with a 3-3 tie.
“Certainly when you get up 3-1 at home, against anyone, you hope that you win those games,” UNO Coach Dean Blais said.
But it’s not just anyone, it’s Bemidji State. Since UNO and Bemidji State joined the WCHA in 2009, the Mavs have never been able to solve the Beavers.
In 11 matchups, UNO is now just 1-6-4 and 0-4-3 in Omaha. The list of heartbreaks at the hands of Bemidji State is long.
But Friday’s game didn’t start like all the rest. Instead of playing from behind or clinging to a one-goal cushion, the Mavs jumped on the Beavers and led 2-0 early in the second period.
Bemidji State cut the UNO deficit to 2-1 at 9:03 of the second. The Mavs responded just 34 seconds later to make it 3-1, and avoided the ‘here we go again’ attitude that seemed sure to creep into the CenturyLink Center.
But by the time the period had ended, ‘here we go again’ had done more than just crept in. It had rink side seats, staring at the UNO bench from across the way.
Goals by the Beavers at 14:21 and 17:23 of the second period sent the teams to the intermission tied at 3-3. The Mavs outshot Bemidji 11-4 the rest of the way, killed off two penalties, but never found the game-winner.
It wasn’t clutching defeat from the jaws of victory. But a single point in the conference standings is little consolation against the Beavers.
“[We] got up 3-1 and kind of looked back on things and we didn’t play our game most of that second period,” Josh Archibald who had the game’s first goal said. “We’re gonna take that as a positive and take that into tomorrow and make those changes and do things better.”
But it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what needs to be better. The intensity of the second period wasn’t quite the same as the first, and it cost UNO.
But against Bemidji State, the Mavs average 40 shots on net. They give up only about half that amount and surrender little to the Beavers on the penalty kill.
It’s difficult to think of a better example of two teams unevenly matched on paper that fulfill the phrase ‘that’s why they play the games.’
Archibald has only been around for one season, but he understands the mental edge Bemidji may have on UNO.
“From what I hear, not beating them here for a few years, that’s definitely in the back of our minds,” Archibald said. “But we try not to think about that, we’re gonna put that in the back of our minds and just play our game.”
Friday’s box score read like almost any other UNO/Bemidji State game. The Mavs outshout the Beavers 42-25 but scored just the three goals.
UNO held Bemidji scoreless on four power plays, but failed on three of their own. A few bounces, a few Maverick mistakes went the Beavers way, and Bemidji capitalized on them.
“It was kind of a momentum change both ways,” Blais said about the pivotal second period. “They’re down 3-1 [and] (Coach) Tom Serratore, good move, calls a timeout. They settle down and get two goals. All of a sudden it’s 3-3. I don’t know if it’s the timeout that did it but it worked for them.”
Archibald’s goal came just 2:43 into the game, and just moments after he leveled Bemidji’s Jordan George into the boards to start the game. Archibald came free with the puck off a faceoff and beat Beaver goaltender Andrew Walsh from the slot.
The Mavs held a 13-8 shot advantage after the first period, should have scored on a few more chances, but appeared to be in control. Matt White scored another early period goal, giving UNO their initial two goal lead just 1:51 into the second.
But then came Radoslav Illo’s goal to put the Beavers on the board at 9:03. Johnnie Searfoss’ answer just seconds later wasn’t enough to stem the oncoming tide.
Bemidji tied it with goals by Aaron McLeod and Markus Gerbrandt.
“Anytime you get 40 shots and net and allow right around 20 that’s pretty good,” Blais said. “We’re close to leading the country in shots taken and we’re close to leading the country in the number of shots given up. It’s forwards helping out the defense, the defense doing their job. The story was Bemidji capitalized a lot on turnovers.”