Golden goal propels Beavers to ACHA semifinals

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. – The Minot State men’s hockey teams opened the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) National Tournament with an emphatic 8-0 win over the University of Michigan-Dearborn Wolverines, but their next task would be a much closer affair.

On Sunday night, the Beavers’ journey for an ACHA National Championship rolled on as they matched up with the No. 8-ranked Indiana Tech Warriors for a first game of the 2022-23 season between the two teams.

As the tournament field grows smaller, the games get tougher, and the Beavers saw that in an Indiana Tech Warriors team that showed the ability to battle and counter the production that was brought to the ice.

With the two teams needing overtime to settle the battle, it was the Beavers who got a golden goal from Troy Hamilton to secure a spot in the ACHA Tournament semifinals, following a 4-3 win on Sunday night.

Even though the Warriors held the Beavers scoreless during their first power play, keeping a high-octane offense completely quiet is a daunting task. In a 19-second span, the Beavers struck twice in the first period starting at the 11:31 mark.

Reece Henry took advantage of a flustered Ty Barnhill, who was unable to find the puck, and Henry sent it home in front of the net on assists from Josh Pederson and Reid Arnold to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead.

19 seconds later, Drew Carter blasted a one-timer, doubling the Beavers’ lead to 2-0 on assists from Cochrane and Carter Barley. The Warriors, however, would cut the lead in half with 6:33 left in the opening period when Pavel Svoboda cleaned up a rebound to make it a 2-1 game.

Once again, the Beavers were piling on the shots early by letting off 18 in the first period, but despite the Warriors taking only seven shots on goal, they were hanging tight with the No.1-ranked team as the Beavers took their 2-1 lead into intermission.

Making the battle even tighter were the Warriors, who got an equalizer from Avery Smith with 16:20 left in the second period after Smith went top shelf with a wrister. In what was a quiet period the rest of the way, the teams traded a penalty each and took their 2-2 tie into the third period.

The Beavers continued to have a lead in shots on goal at 31-14, but the Warriors were making their shots count. With one period left and a semifinal appearance on the line, both teams appeared hungry to take the next advantage in the game as they closed out the second period with increased intensity.

With 16:26 to go in the contest, the Beavers went on the power play. This time, they made the most of the advantage when Barley gave the Beavers the lead again at 3-2 on a power-play goal.

As the Beavers were looking to close it out, Sheldin Howard made a key defensive play down the stretch where he shut down a potential Warriors rush near Indiana Tech’s offensive zone. It was only fitting to have late-game dramatics, however, as the Warriors continued to battle all night long.

With 3:11 left in regulation, the Warriors got a power-play goal from Axel Low to even the game at 3-3. Regulation wasn’t enough time to determine a winner, as the Beavers and Warriors needed extra time to settle this one.

The Beavers dominated control of the puck in the early goings of overtime, but it wasn’t until 12:08 into extra time that Troy Hamilton scored the golden goal to give the Beavers a 4-3 win over the Warriors.

With the win, the Beavers advance to the ACHA National Tournament semifinals where they will take on Liberty at 7 p.m. tonight.


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