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BSU men's hockey: Beavers down Huntsville with strong third period

Bemidji State's Emil Billberg (right) watches his shot beat Alabama-Huntsville goalie Cameron Talbot for BSU's first goal Friday. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

Three third period goals and strong goaltending from Bemidji State sophomore Matt Dalton propelled the Beavers (8-7-0, 3-2-0 CHA) to a 3-1 win over visiting University of Alabama-Huntsville (2-6-1, 1-3-1 CHA) Friday the The Glas.

If that sounds like "deja vu all over again," it should. The game followed nearly the same script as the Beavers 3-0 win over Michigan Tech a week ago. The Beavers took advantage of their opportunities offensively and got strong goaltending. Other than that there was little else sterling to say about the BSU's fourth win in a row.

"Good teams find a way to win," said Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore. "We took advantage of our chances and Dalton was huge. Hats off to Huntsville - they played a great game and deserved a better fate. The stars were aligned for us tonight."

After battling to a scoreless tie after two periods, the Beavers offense came to life in the third - scoring a pair of goals in just over two minutes to take control.

Just seconds after a Huntsville penalty had expired; BSU's Emil Bilberg took a pass from Chris McKelvie near the far hash marks and rifled a wrist shot past UAH goaltender Cameron Talbot at the 6:27 mark.

Then, just 2:05 later, the Beavers struck again. On this one, freshman Jamie MacQueen took a pass from Shea Walter at the near circle and ripped a shot into a wide open net.

Bemidji State then put the game away as defenseman Cody Bostock scored a power play goal from the point near the blue line past a heavily screened Talbot at the 15:41 mark.

The Beavers' bid for their second shut out victory in thee games was thwarted late in the game. Huntsville scored a power play goal of its own with just 1:09 remaining as Kevin Morrison poked the puck in the net during a scrum in front.

But the late goal and the complimentary words from Serratore about the Chargers overall play did little to soothe UAH head coach Danton Cole.

"They keep score for a reason," he said. "We made some major mental mistakes and Bemidji State took advantage. We have no excuses; the point of the game is to win. They did what they had to do to get the win.

"Sure, we did some good things. But we don't take moral victories - I'm sick of the whole moral victory thinking."

The first period was played pretty close to the vest with UAH holding a 6-5 shot advantage. It was the Charger penalty kill that took the spotlight in the period, holding the Beavers to only a pair of shots on two power play chances.

There were very few quality chances to score in the period. Chris McKelvie just missed tapping in his own rebound with about two minutes remaining. Dalton made a nice kick save off a close in chance by Andrew Coburn with just 17 seconds left in the period.

The Beavers were very fortunate the score was tied 0-0 after the second period. Although the shots ended up only 8-6 in favor of the Chargers, it was UAH who controlled play.

Huntsville missed two golden opportunities to score on the power play near the mid-way point of the period. Matt Sweazey was looking at a wide open net from point blank range on a back door play, but misfired at the 9:00 mark. On the same power play Cody Campbell also found himself staring at a yawning net, but Dalton was able to barely tip the puck and make the save.

The Chargers also had the best opportunity to score on the Beavers lone power play of the period. Andrew Coburn picked up a Beavers turnover near the red line and nearly popped free on a breakaway. He got off as good shot, but Dalton again made the save.

The Chargers had yet another chance with three minutes left in the period, but defenseman Tyler Jundt was able to swat the puck away from the crease.

But it was the Beavers who took control in the third period and that was enough for the win.

Serratore was pleased with the offensive production of the Beavers' third and fourth lines on the night as those lines cored two of the goals. "That was a good goal by Bilberg; it was a well placed shot," Serratore reported. "We needed some mileage from those guys and we got it."

Dalton has been a rock for the Beavers during the four game win streak, allowing just three goals over that span. He stopped 23 of Huntsville's 24 shots Friday. Talbot took the loss, making 13 saves on 16 shots.

The two teams conclude the series tonight in a 7:05 p.m. start from The Glas.