Bemidji State sweeps UAA with 5-1 win Saturday

Head coach Matt Thomas said he rewards a player’s hard work. On Saturday night, Jared D’Amico was living-proof of his coach’s words. The sophomore earned himself the right to be named starting goalie for only the second time this season.

It would take the visiting Bemidji State Beavers over two periods and 20 shots on the Cochrane, Alberta native to finally crack him. However, once they did, the Beavers (8-9-4, 7-8-3 WCHA) beat him twice more in the third period en route to a 5-1 victory over the Seawolves (8-9-3, 5-7-2 WCHA) before a largely student-less Sullivan Arena.

“We need to support him better, we needed to score goals,” said head coach Matt Thomas. “Just like we need to do for [goalie Olivier Mantha] — it’s an issue of us letting our goaltenders down right now.”

The Seawolves only goal of the game came off the stick of forward Tad Kozun at 16:37 of the third period. The forward was left open off Michael Bitzer’s left post where teammate Blake Tatchell found him while on a 5-on-3 power play.

Trailing the Beavers two goals with less than four minutes to play, Coach Thomas pulled D’Amico, giving the Seawolves a 6-on-5 man advantage in hopes of adding another goal. Thomas’ plan was unsuccessful and Cory Ward scored an empty-net goal at 16:27 of the third following a UAA turnover. Two minutes later, Beaver’s forward Jordan Heller rounded out the visitor’s scoring with another empty-netter.

“We had to go for it, we had to take chances, and that’s what happens,” Kozun said.

Coincidently, it was Heller who started his teams’ scoring run earlier in the period. With the game deadlocked at 0-0, Heller unleashed a wrist shot near the right faceoff dot. D’Amico’s shoulder was unable to catch up to the puck.

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The goal came after a controversial no-goal call earlier in the period. Bemidji State’s Dillon Eichstadt shot a puck from the right point that was initially stopped, but fell from D’Amico’s chest pad moments later. The Beavers cleaned up the rebound, scoring what looked to be a goal, but the play had already been called dead by the referees.

Two minutes following the Beaver’s first official goal, the Seawolves went on the power play. With under a minute left on the man-advantage, junior Nate Arentz raced toward a loose puck along the boards, eluded two UAA defensemen, and scored a short-handed breakaway goal, pumping his fist in celebration to the applause of his teammates from the other end of the rink.

D’Amico let in a final goal on a nearly identical shot that resulted in the first goal. Gerry Fitzgerald flung the puck into the left corner of the net at 10:25 in the period.

“We just have to put our hard hats on, our work boots on, and get back to work,” said Kozun.

The Seawolves will be on the road the next two weeks facing off against Lake Superior State and Bowling Green.

Jared D'Amico vs. Bemidji State 2016 #4.JPG
UAA's Jared D'Amico makes a save on Bemidji State's Cory Ward as Matt Anholt looks on during the WCHA game Saturday, January 10, 2016.

Photo by Sam Wasson/UAA Athletics