Beavers split with rival UMary, take first loss of season

Joey Moffatt (16) of the Minot State men’s hockey program helped his team split with in-state rival UMary by scoring two goals in a win on Friday night. Sean Williams/MDN

As the Minot State men’s hockey team is getting ready for a break in the action with the fall semester coming to an end, they won’t be able to get there without their schedule difficulty cranking up. This weekend, they embarked on a tough four-game stretch that started with a two-game series against in-state rival University of Mary.

Heading into the series, the Beavers (13-1) owned an unblemished record where they looked to continue their winning ways. The Beavers, however, were not going to overlook a good UMary team (18-3-1) who might be an American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division II team, but they don’t play like it.

In a split series, the Beavers played host to the Marauders on Friday night as the teams began to write a new chapter in a storied rivalry at the Maysa Arena. Making the next chapter a happy one was the Beavers, as they defeated the Marauders 3-1 to keep their perfect record alive.

The first period was very quiet, with both teams going scoreless and not drawing any penalties. At the end of one, the Beavers were leading the way in shots, outpacing the Marauders 8-to-5. Heading into the final two periods, the Beavers would begin to take a more balanced attack to help guide themselves to victory.

Joey Moffatt broke the scoreless tie in the second period, netting his tenth goal of the season on an assist by Jay Buchholz at the 8:17 mark, giving the Beavers a 1-0 lead. There were a combined six penalties in the period, but this marked the only goal as the Beavers took a 1-0 lead and 31-to-11 shot advantage into the final period.

Once the Beavers gained the lead on Friday night, they never looked back as they went on to score two more goals in the third period to take a commanding lead. Carter Barley struck pay dirt next at the 1:24 mark on an assist by Davis Sheldon to give MSU a 2-0 lead.

Not wanting to let his impact on the game fizzle out, Moffatt would score his second goal of the game at the 11:32 mark in period three, assisted by Reid Arnold and Barley, on a power play advantage to make it a 3-0 game. The Marauders would get a power-play goal out of Seth Cushing at the 16:01 mark, bringing the game to its final of 3-1 in favor of the Beavers.

Jake Anthony started in net for MSU, stopping 17 of 18 shots he faced. Kyle Hayden started for the Marauders, stopping 41 of 44 shots. The Beavers went 1-for-3 on power play advantages and had 12 penalty minutes.

Davis Sheldon, the captain and leader of the Beavers team, did not waste any time giving his team the lead on Saturday night as he found the back of the net 17 seconds into the contest, assisted by Connor Navrot to give MSU a 1-0 lead.

At the midway point of the first period, the Beavers would add insurance courtesy of a Drew Carter goal and an assist by Payton Jerome, as they extended their lead to 2-0. When the Beavers hit the road to go south of Minot, they made sure they packed their offense as the team outscored the Marauders 5-1 at this point in the two-game series.

The Marauders, however, made sure they brought theirs too as they evened the fight in the second period by netting two goals, coming off the sticks of Alexander Flicek and Isaiah Thomas in a four-minute span to make it a 2-2 game. All the sudden, the Marauders had momentum as they were aiming for a series split and the Beavers were hungry for a sweep.

With the rivalry between these teams running so deep, the second period featured more heated play, as both the Beavers and the Marauders combined for three roughing penalties. The Beavers were on the penalty kill three times in the period, having success in each of those situations.

Heading into the third period of the series-deciding game, the Beavers and Marauders were knotted at 2-2. Turning the tide of the series was UMary, who got a power-play goal out of Riley Scanlon at the 16:44 mark to take a 3-2 lead.

It was only fitting that drama would build to close out the contest, as the Beavers had a goal wiped off with six seconds left and that call was the deciding factor as UMary handed the Beavers their first loss of the season in a 3-2 final.

The win on Saturday night marks the first win UMary has picked up when facing the Beavers. For MSU, they will have to now do something they haven’t had to all year in seeing how they respond to a loss.

Their response brings another big test to the Magic City as the Beavers will host top-five ranked University of Central Oklahoma for a two-game series beginning on Friday, Dec. 9. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Maysa.


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