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Huskies Fall to No. 13 Bemidji State Friday

HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech's seven-game unbeaten streak came to an end as the No. 13-ranked Bemidji State Beavers defeated the Huskies 3-1 Friday (Dec. 2) night at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Tech is now 9-7-3 overall and 8-3-2-1 in the WCHA.

"You can see there's not a lot of difference between the two teams," Tech coach Mel Pearson said. "They made a couple more plays than we did and got a good bounce on that shorthanded goal. We knew it was going to be a close and hard fought game and that's exactly what it was."

Michael Neville scored Tech's lone goal 11:36 into the game to give the Huskies the lead. Thomas Beretta tipped away a Bemidji breakout pass and Neville scooped it up and went in on a breakaway, firing the puck over the glove of Michael Bitzer for his third of the season. Cliff Watson added the secondary assist.

Bemidji State (12-4-1, 12-0-1-1 WCHA) quickly tied it up 54 seconds later as Leo Fitzgerald found the back of the net off a pass from Brendan Harms.

The Beavers took the lead 5:15 into the second with a shorthanded breakaway goal by Kyle Bauman.

The Huskies had two power plays in the third, looking for the equalizer. Joel L'Esperance walked in on a breakaway but had his stick lifted and the puck cleared to the corner before he could get a shot off. Tyler Heinonen hit the post later in the period.

Tech pulled goaltender Angus Redmond with 80 seconds left in the game to add the extra attacker. Heinonen had another decent scoring chance out front of the BSU net but the Beavers won the ensuing faceoff and Charlie O'Connor added an empty net goal with 23 seconds to go.

Tech outshot its opponent for the ninth straight game, registering 27 shots. Bitzer had 26 saves after surrendering the early lead. Redmond stopped 22-of-24 BSU shots.

"Angus played well. He had to battle tonight," added Pearson. "There weren't a lot of shots but he made some timely saves.

"Bitzer was a major factor in the game. He made big saves all night long. We just need to play with some urgency and a little more desperation around the net."

Tech was called for five minor penalties while Bemidji was whistled for six. Both teams were scoreless on the man advantage.

The two teams wrap up the WCHA series at 7:07 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 3). Fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Salvation Army.