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Bemidji State men's hockey: Beavers look to keep rolling in big CHA series against Huntsville

Steve MacQueen (left) and the Bemidji State men's hockey team hosts Alabama-Huntsville tonight and Saturday in a key College Hockey America series. Pioneer File Photo/Eric Stromgren

Coming off perhaps its best weekend of play on the year, the Bemidji State men's hockey team looks to stay on a roll in hosting intense College Hockey America rival University of Alabama-Huntsville this weekend at the John Glas Fieldhouse.

The Beavers (11-13-0, 7-3-0 CHA) dominated at Robert Morris University last weekend, winning 5-3 and 5-1. BSU was strong in all phases of the game in extending its current win streak to three games.

The 10 goals scored were the most for a series this season and well above the Beavers scoring average of 2.7 per game. The Beavers also had 28 and 37 shots respectively in the series, again well over the season average of 25.8

The special teams play was especially dominant for the Beavers as BSU was a combined 6 for 11 (54.5 percent) on the power play for the series.

"In terms of six complete periods that was our best weekend of the year," said Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore. "We had the intensity, made plays and were strong defensively.

"It was a big step forward -- especially playing like that on the road. It was just a very gratifying feeling as a coach to see the guys respond like that. Now I just hope we can maintain it against UAH."

It's been a roller-caster year for the Beavers, including a 0-4 streak to start the season, followed by a 6-0 winning streak, followed by a 0-6 run to a current 3-0 streak.

It's now crunch time with only eight regular season games left. It's the time the Beavers want to stay on top of the up and down cycle of a long college hockey season.

"We really want to win the regular season conference championship," Serratore reported. "It's important to us. It shows you have played at a consistently high level throughout the season.

"The only way to a banner is to take care of business at home and then play strong on the road. We know it's a difficult road for us with four games on the road after the Huntsville series.

"But you can see it in our guys -- they realize what's at stake and they are serious."

The Beavers and UAH (4-13-3, 2-5-3 CHA) have played each other four times all ready this season with the Beavers holding a 3-1 edge. BSU and UAH split at Huntsville in November with the Chargers winning the opener 4-2 and the Beavers claiming the second 2-1 in overtime. The teams then squared off at Bemidji in early December with the Beavers getting the sweep, winning 3-1 and 4-2.

"It's said all the time, but we know it's true in the case of Huntsville -- they are better than their record indicates," Serratore reported. "They have been playing very well."

The Chargers are coming off a series against Niagara where they were defeated 4-2 but then rallied to tie 5-5 in overtime the second night. Serratore reported the UAH coaching staff said that was the best the Chargers have played all season, in the Niagara series finale.

"We've been fortunate and dodged some bullets against them this year," Serratore reported. "We've found a way to win. But Huntsville looks like a tram ready to start a strong roll -- we just hope it isn't this weekend."

The Chargers are led in scoring by freshman Cody Campbell, who currently has five goals and 12 assists for 17 points. Senior forward Matt Sweazey leads the teams in goals with nine.

In net, sophomore Cameron Talbot has seen the majority of action, sporting a record of 1-10-2 with a 2.94 goals against average and, 912 save percentage.

The Chargers have averaged scoring 2.20 goals per game, while allowing an average of 3.30.

"We know Huntsville is going to come in here fired up, as they always do," Serratore reported. "It'll be interesting to see how we respond, coming off a very successful weekend on the road."

The line up

The series will mark the return of BSU senior goal scoring leader Tyler Scofield. He sat out the RMU series with a neck injury.

The Beavers will also be without two players -- senior Brandon Marino and sophomore Emil Bilberg. Marino was issued a game disqualification on Saturday at RMU on a checking from behind penalty that Serratore termed marginal. Marino will now sit out Friday's game.

Bilberg will be out longer after suffering a broken finger. He is expected to be out two to three weeks.

The lines:

Tyler Scofield-Matt Read-Matt Francis

Jamie MacQueen-Travis Winter-Tyler Lehrke

Ben Kinne-Shea Walters-Ryan Cramer

Darcy Findlay-Chris McKelvie-Ian Lowe


Chris Peluso-Graham McManamin

Brad Hunt-Cody Bostock

Tyler Jundt-Kyle Hardwick


Matt Dalton