Big time players score big time goals.
Matt Read's goal off a rebound 8:05 into overtime gave the Bemidji State men's hockey team a highly emotional 3-2 overtime victory over Robert Morris University to win the College Hockey America Tournament crown at the John Glas Fieldhouse Saturday, before a near capacity crowd.
The game was a classic, befitting the venerable Glas where dozens of college hockey championships have been decided over the last 42 years.
What a college hockey playoff game: The score was tied 1-1 after the first period and 2-2 after the second and third.
In overtime, the Beavers won a faceoff in the offensive zone with the puck going to defender Ryan Adams. Adams stepped up and took a hard slap shot from the point that got through to the goal. RMU goaltender Brooks Ostergard gave up a big rebound, and Read was there to rap it in, giving the Beavers their third CHA tournament crown. It also completed a rare sweep in which the Beavers won both the regular-season and postseason titles.
"I don't think we could have written a better script," said BSU head coach Tom Serratore. "I couldn't be more proud of my team right now. Being able to win the title in this community, in this building, makes it even more special."
Read, who had a huge game with two goals and an assist, got the game-winner on a classic hard-working goal.
"I was able to win the faceoff pretty clean and saw their forward just standing at the circle, so I went to the net," Read said. "I was just hoping the shot would go through and I could get a rebound. That's what happened and I was able to slip it in."
A highly entertaining first period ended in a 1-1 draw. Robert Morris got the first goal, taking advantage of a fortunate bounce off the back boards. Defender Dave Cowan fired a shot from the blue line that missed the net, but caromed off the back board right to Ron Cramer at the side of the net.
Cramer's one-timer beat Dalton at 3:53.
The Beavers came back with a power-play goal at 9:30. Shortly after the Beavers had applied heavy pressure during their first power play opportunity, the Colonials were called for another minor at 9:06. It took the Beavers just 24 seconds to score as Tyler Scofield ripped a wrist shot from the edge of the far faceoff circle past Ostergard.
It was a big goal for Bemidji State with just 30 seconds left in the period and it allowed the Beavers to enter the locker room tied.
There were plenty of other scoring opportunities in the first. The Beavers had a great chance just 1:00 into the game as Shea Walters made a great play at the side of the net and flipped a pass to Ben Kinne. Ostergard came up with a big glove save.
The Beavers had another great chance with just under four minutes remaining on a nice 2-on-1 break. Kinne made a pass across the crease to Walters, but Walters was unable to handle the bouncing puck. If he had, a wide open net was in front of him.
The Beavers held a slight 8-7 shot advantage in the opening period.
A wild and crazy second period ended with the teams in a 2-2 tie. The Beavers took a 2-1 lead at 14:08 as Read scored off a scramble in front with the Beavers on the power play. Read took the initial shot that hit the pipe. The puck squirted out and Scofield got a shot. In a mad scramble Read grabbed the puck and scored.
The Colonials tied the game with 1:13 remaining with a 4-on-3 goal following a series of penalty calls. Three penalties, two on BSU, were whistled within 32 seconds, resulting in a 4-on-3 advantage for RMU.
Chris Margott, the CHA scoring leader, connected on a big time skill move from the slot, whistling a shot along the ice five hole to beat a heavily screened Dalton with 35 seconds remaining in the period.
Robert Morris held a 16-10 shot advantage in the period. Dalton was at his best early with the Colonials starting the period on the power play. He made a big save on Margott from point-blank range at 49 seconds. He made another just seven seconds later on a mad scramble in front.
There was no scoring in the third period, but not without opportunity. Both goalies made a big saves in the period, Dalton on a poke check at 3:40 and Ostergard on a pad save at the 10:00 mark.
The Beavers controlled the offense in the period, ending with a 14-5 shot advantage. Robert Morris special times came through, killing a pair of penalties near the middle of the period.
That set up the heroics in overtime for Read. When he scored the partisan crowd erupted and continued cheering for many minutes afterward.
The Glas was a mad house.
"This is the third time we've won the title and all of them have been special," Serratore reported. "But I have to admit this one is especially so - this community, the university, the alumni, the fans all mean so much to us. To win a championship here - I can't think of anything better."
Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley was understandably dejected after the game.
"It was a good hockey game and too bad that someone had to lose," he said. "With all the obstacles they've had to overcome, I feel really bad for my players. At the end of the day we thought we had as good a chance as anybody, but Read ended up making a great play."
The Beavers ended the night with a 40-31 shot advantage. Both teams scored a power-play goal, BSU ending the night 1 for 7 and RMU going 1 for 6.
The Beavers will now wait until March 22 to find out where they will be playing in the NCAA tournament and against whom.
But for now BSU will celebrate a bit,before hitting practice later in the week.
All players after the game said while the playoff win was great, they still have work to do.