Beavers outwork Warriors 3-2
After a three-week break from conference play, it was back to the College Hockey America grind Friday night for the streaking Bemidji State men's hockey team.
The Beavers responded with a workmanlike 3-2 victory over Wayne State of Michigan at the John Glas Fieldhouse, moving to 6-2-3 and earning a share of the CHA lead.
Bemidji is 11-5-3 overall, with only two losses in its last 15 games.
It also marked a pair of milestones for Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore. It was his 200th game, and his 100th victory. Serratore is now 100-77-23 in six seasons.
Rob Sirianni's pretty goal midway through the third period broke a 2-2 tie and sent the pesky Warriors to their sixth loss in seven league games. Freshman Tyler Lehrke scored the first two goals for the Beavers. The teams meet again tonight at 7:05 at the Glas.
"They're a pain to play against," Serratore said of the Warriors. "It's hard to sustain anything against them."
Sirianni got the game winner by taking a pass off the back boards from Blaine Jarvis, controlling the puck while skating backwards to the front of the net, and beating Wayne State goalie Will Hooper with a high wrist shot. It brightened a night of frustration for the high-scoring senior, who was thwarted on several good scoring chances and hit the pipe in the second period.
Lehrke had his finest game as a Beaver. The winger from Park Rapids, who grew up a Minnesota Gopher fan, nearly had a third goal and was a sparkplug all night along with linemates Matt Pope and Joey Moggach.
"As soon as I committed to BSU in my senior year I stopped being a Gopher fan," said Lehrke, who played juniors last season in Green Bay, Wis. "I started coming up to games here and I was excited to come and play here. I struggled right off the bat this year. It was tough. But I just kept working hard and good things started to happen."
It was his first two-goal game and brought his total to four on the season.
Lehrke broke the ice in a slow-starting first period to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead. He beat Hooper from close range after taking a nice pass from Pope on a 2-on-1 break with 3:44 left in the first. Pope's deft stick work got the puck past a Warrior defender.
The Warriors tied it early in the second, taking advantage of a slopping clearing play by BSU goaltender Matt Climie.
Mark Nebus got the puck at the left point, and his slapper was tipped in by Matt Boldt as Climie was returning to the net.
Lehrke's second goal gave the Beavers a 2-1 lead with 12:18 left in the middle frame. He chipped it in from the left doorstep this time, taking a nice pass from Moggach, who controlled the puck out front with a spinning move.
Wayne State knotted the score again with a power-play goal in the final minute of the second period when Jason Bloomingburg muscled the puck past Climie after a scramble in front.
"Both of my goals were set up by great passes," said Lehrke. "The first and second periods seemed pretty even, but in the third we came out and dominated the game and got rewarded for it."
Serratore praised the play of Lehrke and his linemates.
Pope is a junior, but Lehrke and Moggach are first-year Beavers.
"There's a huge learning curve for freshmen," Serratore said. "But after the holidays freshmen are no longer freshmen. We have big expectations for our young players here. That line has size, speed and great hockey sense.
They provided great energy and were vital for us tonight."
Climie had some big saves, including one on a breakaway by Wayne's Jason Baclig early in the third period. The senior from Leduc, Alberta, is now unbeaten in his last 11 starts.
Regarding his 100th win, Serratore said, "It's really hard to believe I've been coaching for six years. It's a benchmark win. It feels good. But it will feel a lot better if we win tomorrow night."
Wayne State 0 2 0 - 2
Bemidji State 1 1 1 - 3
First Period - 1, BSU, Tyler Lehrke (Matt Pope, Joey Moggach, 16:16. Penalties - BSU bench (too many men), 5:19. Dan Iliakis, WSU (charging), 10:08. Riley Weselowski, BSU (crosschecking), 16:39. Dave Deterding, BSU (interference), 19:42.
Second Period - 2, WSU, Matt Boldt (Mark Nebus), 2:28. 3, BSU, Lehrke (Moggach, Chris Peluso), 7:42. 4, WSU, Jason Bloomingburg (Jared Katz), 19:05 (pp). Penalties - Nebus, WSU (obstruction hooking), 13:26. Jake Bluhm, BSU (roughing), 16:40. Ryan Bernardi, WSU (roughing), 16:40. Deterding, BSU (hooking), 17:11.
Third Period - 5, BSU, Rob Sirianni (Blaine Jarvis, Ryan Miller), 9:03. Penalties - Jason Baclig, WSU (hooking), 14:31. Garrett Roth, BSU (tripping), 18:29. Jeff Caister, WSU (tripping), 18:29.
Shots - Wayne 6-11-7 24. Bemidji State 8-11-9 28. Saves - Wayne, Will Hooper 7-10-8 25. Bemidji State, Matt Climie 6-9-7 22. Power play - Wayne 1 for 4, Bemidji State 0 for 3. Referee - Brad Albers. Assistant referees - Andy Carton, Mike Eslinger. A - 1,129.