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Beavers use third period to race ahead of Bulldogs

BEMIDJI — Bemidji State reclaimed the Blue Ox Trophy on Friday with a 5-2 nonconference win over Minnesota Duluth at Sanford Center in Bemidji.

The series concludes at 7:07 p.m. Saturday at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

The Beavers, playing their season opener, erupted for three goals in the opening half of the third period to take a 4-1 lead on the Bulldogs, who've already gotten in two regular season games and an exhibition.

BSU senior goaltender Michael Bitzer finished with 27 saves while UMD freshman Hunter Shepard, playing about 60 miles down U.S. Highway 2 from his hometown of Cohasset, Minn., stopped 12 of the 16 shots he faced.

Sophomore wing Adam Brady put the Beavers' ahead with his team's second power play goal of the night just under four minutes into the third. Junior defenseman Justin Baudry followed with the Beavers' first even-strength goal of the night at just under two minutes later and freshman Brendan Harris scored his first collegiate goal at the 7:30 mark.

Senior wing Blake Young gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead 7:27 into the game with his first goal of the season and third in 59 career games at UMD. Young raced into the Beavers' zone and put the puck away just as a UMD power play expired.

The Beavers tied the game on the power play nine-plus minutes into the second period with a blast from the point by senior center Gerry Fitzgerald.

Notes: Friday was the first game of 2017-18 for Bemidji State, which did not play any exhibitions beforehand. The Beavers held a short celebration of their 2016-17 WCHA regular season title before pregame introductions. ... Superior native Aaron Miller, a 21-year-old freshman wing, got the start Friday for the Beavers. He is one of four former Minnesota Wilderness players in the game along with Beavers freshman defenseman Tyler Vold, Bulldogs freshman defenseman Louie Roehl and Bulldogs junior forward Billy Exell.