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Bemidji State men's hockey: Hunt scores twice, Dalton stops 22 in win over Huntsville

Bemidji State's Ryan Cramer (15) fires a shot during Friday's game against Alamba-Huntsville at John Glas Fieldhouse. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

Bemidji State freshman defender Brad Hunt had two goals and sophomore Matt Dalton posted 22 saves as the Beavers blanked intense College Hockey America rival University of Alabama-Huntsville 2-0 Friday at the John Glas Fieldhouse.

All the scoring came in the second period as Hunt put his powerful shot on full display. One thing certain about the first year defenseman, he has an absolute cannon.

After a scoreless first period where both teams generated only a combined eight shots on goal, the Beavers (12-13-0, 8-3-0 CHA) kicked it into gear in the second. Freshman Jamie MacQueen started off the first BSU scoring play, fighting for the puck behind the Huntsville net. He muscled his way out front and slid the puck into the slot. Hunt stepped up and sent a rocket to the back of the net at 6:59 past UAH goalie Cameron Talbot.

"It was a perfect set up," Hunt said. "The puck was sliding towards me slowly, just like in a hardest shot competition. I just concentrated on leaning into it and hitting it as hard as I could."

Hard to believe Hunt could have caught the puck any cleaner.

"In the old days we would have said that he got good wood on it," BSU head coach Tom Serratore reported with a chuckle. "Now we have to say he got good composite on it."

Hunt made it 2-0 on another blast about five minutes later. With the Beavers on the power play, Hunt jumped on a loose puck near the top of the circles and rifled another shot to the back of the net.

This one appeared to deflect off a UAH defender in front, changing direction and lifting over Talbot's glove.

"I have to give Matt Francis a lot of credit on the second goal," Hunt said. "He plays so well in front of the net, getting in there and taking a lot of abuse. He told me to get the puck to the net, that he'd be there in front."

Serratore said Hunt is the kind of defensive player who knows where to pick his spots and jump up into the offense.

"Good players make good reads and that's what Hunt did," Serratore reported. "He was Johnny on the Spot and capitalized."

The Beavers ended with a 17-7 shot advantage in the key second period and then made the lead stand up in the third as the Chargers put on some pressure.

"I thought we did a very good job defensively in the first two periods and really limited their chances," Serratore reported. "In the third they stretched things out a bit and had some opportunities. When they did, Dalton stood tall for us."

The Beavers were also beset by penalties in the third period, giving the Chargers a 5 on 3 advantage for 22 seconds at one point. Huntsville kept the puck in the zone the entire time and came up with a pair of chances in close on tips, but Dalton was a rock.

Huntsville also had a 6 on 4 advantage for 25 seconds at the end of the game, courtesy of another BSU penalty and then pulling the goalie for an extra attacker. UAH worked hard to score, but once again Dalton preserved the shut out with a pair of fine stops.

The Beavers had a couple of opportunities to get an insurance goal early in the third, but couldn't connect. The best came when freshman Ben Kinne sprung free for a breakaway with the Beavers on the penalty kill at 5:30, but Talbot made the save.

The Beavers ended the night holding UAH to an 0 for 9 effort on the power play, another key to the victory.

"I wasn't pleased with all the penalties we took," Serratore reported. "But the guys played very on the penalty kill - you can't ask for more than that. I thought we played pretty well defensively overall."

The win was the Beavers fourth in a row and third straight against Huntsville.

"After a lackluster first period I thought we played very well in the second and third," Serratore reported. "Hopefully tonight we won't get as many penalties and we'll be able to get into a better flow offensively."

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