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MEN'S HOCKEY: Bemidji State blanks Huntsville 1-0 o complete WCHA sweep

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Cory Ward’s first-period goal proved to be the difference as Bemidji State held on to defeat Alabama-Huntsville 1-0 Saturday night.

The Beavers (2-3-1, 2-0-0 WCHA) swept the Chargers (0-4-0, 0-2-0 WCHA) in their first Western Collegiate Hockey Association games of the season.

“It was a little dicey at the end there, but it’s good to win games like that, find a way to get it done,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore told Beaver Radio Network following the game. The Chargers nearly tied the game multiple times in the final five minutes but BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh stood strong.

He only needed to make 13 saves, as the Beavers outshot the Chargers 24-13, but Walsh got several key stops at the end to preserve the 1-0 shutout victory.

“Wins are that much sweeter,” Serratore said. “You’d like to get another goal or two to get a cushion and we need to play better but at the end of the day a sweep on the road is a sweep on the road.”

With BSU’s win and Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan’s Upper Peninsula rivalry split this weekend the Beavers, with four points in the conference, sit alone in first place in the league standings.

It was BSU’s first series sweep in the league since January 2012, when the Beavers swept a series in Anchorage.

Ward scored his fourth goal of the season midway through the first period.

He got assists from junior Danny Mattson and freshman Brendan Harms to give the Beavers the early lead at 9 minutes, 38 seconds, in the first.

As it turns out, that lead held up.

UAH had a great chance to tie the game late in the third period when Brandon Carlson’s shot went under the legs of BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh but went a foot wide of the net.

The Chargers pulled goaltender Carmine Guerriero with about two minutes to play to get the extra attacker and managed to get a number of quality scoring chances on Walsh.

The best came on Brandon Clowes’ backhand attempt on Walsh, who was able to find the puck and cover it, giving the Beavers a much-needed change with 41 seconds left after they had failed to clear it.

UAH managed three more shots, all of which were blocked by the BSU defense.

Guerriero made 23 saves for the Chargers to keep them in the game.

The Beavers and Chargers both took five penalties for 10 minutes; but most of them offset. The Beavers were 0-for-2 on the power play and UAH 0-for-1.

BSU killed off a 5-on-3 penalty that spanned the end of the second and beginning of the third periods.

The Beavers return to the Sanford Center next weekend for a series against Minnesota State.

Bemidji State 1, Alabama Huntsville 0

Bemidji State1   0   0 – 1

Alabama Huntsville0   0   0 – 0

First Period – 1, BSU, Ward (Mattson, Harms), 9:38. Penalties – UAH, Strukoff (Boarding), 10:42; BSU, Ward (Holding), 12:05; UAH, Vanderlught (Holding), 12:05; UAH, Marooney (Hooking), 12:08; BSU, Gerbrandt (Hooking), 12:08; UAH, Clowes (Slashing), 18:34.

Second Period – No Scoring. Penalties – BSU, Pedan (Holding the Stick), 18:24; BSU, Marinaccio (Too Many Men), 19:26.

Third Period – No Scoring. Penalties – UAH, Broberg (Slashing), 5:44; BSU, Windle (Holding), 5:44.

Shots on goal: BSU — 8-7-9—24; UAH — 5-2-6—13. Goaltenders (shots-saves): BSU — Walsh (14-14); UAH — Guerriero (24-23). Penalties-Minutes: BSU — 5-10; UAH — 5-10. Power Play goals, opportunities: BSU — 0-for-2; UAH — 0-for-1. Three Stars: 1-Ward, BSU; 2-Walsh, BSU; 3- Guerriero, UAH.

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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