Bemidji State men's hockey: Beavers sweep Huntsville for fifth straight victory
One period of strong play usually isn't enough to get it done in a men's college hockey game.
But it was enough for the Beavers Saturday as Bemidji State (13-13-0, 9-3-0 CHA) completed the sweep of College Hockey America rival University of Alabama-Huntsville (4-15-3, 2-7-3 CHA) with a 4-2 win.
The Beavers scored three first-period goals in the first 13:10, then went silent the rest of the way until the closing seconds of the game. The Chargers answered with a goal at the end of the first and one in the second to make it a game. But the Beavers hung on down the stretch and clinched it with an empty-net goal with 23 seconds left to win their fifth game in a row.
The Beavers had the kind of start coaches dream about, opening the game with three straight goals and dominating play for the vast majority of the first period. UAH came back to score near the end of the period, but there was no doubt who was in control of the game at that point.
BSU freshman Ben Kinne scored first, collecting a long breakout pass at the blue line, beating a defender, cutting in front and beating UAH goalie Blake MacNicol five-hole at 4:25.
The Beavers then continued their sizzling special teams play of late, scoring a pair of power play goals about five minutes apart - both by team goal scoring leader Tyler Scofield. On the first senior forward Matt Francis made a nice move on the blue line at the far boards, starting a 2 on 1. He fed a wide open Scofield who connected into the open net at 8:03.
The second was the result of tremendous team puck movement.
Matt Read got off a shot from in close following a series of passes and Scofield was there to rap home the rebound.
That brought to an end MacNicol's night in goal as he was replaced by Cameron Talbot. MacNicol ended the game facing 14 shots and making 11 saves.
UAH came back to score with about three minutes left when Matt Sweazey zipped a pass through the crease with Andrew Coburn there to tap it home.
The Beavers held a dominating 15-6 shot advantage in the period.
After that, there wasn't a whole lot exciting to say about the game from the Beavers' perspective.
"It was nice to get that early lead," said Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore. "But sometimes when that happens, when things come too easily early in the game, it's easy to get a little complacent. Getting that kind of lead that early is a little worrisome for coaches at times."
Everything the Beavers did right in the first period went out the window in the second.
The result was a major change in momentum as the Chargers scored the only goal of the period to make it a one goal game. Sweazey scored off a rebound at 3:49 and that's the way the period ended.
"When they got that second goal the guys might have started gripping the stick a bit," Serratore reported. "The game was starting to get a bad smell."
The Beavers started the third period on the power play, resulting from a carry-over penalty. BSU almost put the game away early as freshman defender Brad Hunt rang one off the post on a blast from the top of the circles just 1:00 into the third.
From there on in, neither team had any quality chances to score. The Chargers hurt their cause by taking five penalties in the final period, making it next to impossible to get any offensive flow going.
The Beavers put it away for good with 23 seconds remaining as Kinne got his second goal of the night, this one an empty-netter.
"Hey, it was a win and we'll definitely take it," Serratore reported. "It's nice to get back to .500. I'm very proud of the way the guys have responded the last few weeks to get where we are now."
The Beavers ended with a 31-19 shot advantage. BSU goalie Matt Dalton got the win in net, improving his record to 13-8-0.
The Beavers return to action Saturday, returning to Pittsburgh to take on Robert Morris in a Saturday/Sunday series. The Beavers will then stay out east and travel to Niagara for a rare Thursday/Friday series.
E The Beavers two power play goals marked the ninth consecutive game that BSU has scored at least one goal with the man advantage.
E The Beavers shut out the UAH power play for the second consecutive night. For the weekend the Beavers were a perfect 16 for 16 on the penalty kill, including 7 for 7 Saturday.
E The Beavers have prevented the opposing team from scoring on the power in eight games this season. BSU is 7-1-0 in those games.
E Scofield inched closer to the 100 point plateau in career scoring with his pair of goals Saturday. He now has 39 goals and 55 assists for 94 points.