Bemidji State hockey: Read turns the trick again on Robert Morris, Beavers stay unbeaten
Matt Read did it to Robert Morris again.
The junior forward broke a scoreless tie midway through the third period and Bemidji State went on to defeat the Colonials 2-0 Friday night at John Glas Fieldhouse.
"It was kind of ugly early on, but I felt that we got gradually better and better as the game progressed," Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore said. "But we're always happy to get a shutout and we credit this as a team shutout. We take pride in our team goals against average and I'm happy to see the hard work in practice from Monday to Thursday pay off."
No. 11-ranked Bemidji State remained unbeaten with the victory and improved to 6-0-1 overall and 3-0-0 in College Hockey America play. Bemidji State wraps up the weekend series with Robert Morris Saturday at 7:05 p.m.
Robert Morris played its first game back in the John Glas Fieldhouse since last year's CHA tournament championship. In that game, Read scored in overtime to lift the Beavers to a 3-2 win over the Colonials. It gave the Beavers the automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament that began the memorable Frozen Four run.
"It thought it was a good first two road periods for us," Robert Morris captain Dave Cowan said. "But we were just not good enough in the third period, especially against a team like Bemidji State with such powerful forwards ... the guys on the ice need to be aware where (Read) is on the ice. He's a good player and you can't let him roam free or give him the space."
Bemidji State goalie Dan Bakala had 23 saves to earn his first collegiate shutout and Jordan George scored an empty-net goal with 23 seconds remaining to ice the game for the Beavers.
Serratore said the team is not feeling any pressure after extending the current winning streak to four games and the unbeaten record to seven.
"There's no pressure at all," Serratore said. "I think that's an overrated term and I think each win we have actually takes more pressure off. Each time we win in the conference, we get separation. It when you start losing that you feel pressure because you have to win the next one."
Read scored the winning goal with 12:37 left in the third period. George sprinted up the sideboards, crossed the blue line and passed to Read, who blistered a wrist shot over the shoulder of Robert Morris goalie Brooks Ostergard.
Ostergard finished with 37 saves in the game as BSU outshot RMU 39-23.
George has fit in well with the Beavers on the first line with Read and Ian Lowe through the first month of the season. The freshman from Verona, Wisconsin has three goals and five assists on the year.
"Those guys just complement each other so well," Serratore said. "Read is the best player on our team, Lowe has a great hockey sense and a great shot and Jordan can make plays with his speed. They keep the chain, the play going. That line has some chemistry."
The game played out as a defensive battle up until Read's goal. Both teams had trouble making plays in front of the goalie and settled for perimeter shots.
"I thought we didn't play with any purpose for about the first 30 minutes of the game," Serratore said. "I thought we had no identity and we didn't play the way we were supposed to play."
Serratore also credited the Colonials' defensive play for Bemidji State's early troubles.
"We had a hard time out there and they were preventing us from taking good shots, which is a tribute to how well of a defensive team they are," Serratore said. "But part of the problem is we were not willing to combat in the inside zone."
Bakala made some strong saves in the game. He made one while he was crashed into the net during an early penalty kill and came up with a similar save in the second period. But after Read's goal, it was smooth sailing for the sophomore, who only needed to make a pair of saves the rest of the way.
"I'm definitely excited because we were able to finish off the game strong," Bakala said. "I didn't have to face many tough shots tonight, although a couple times I could see them trying to sneak in the one-timer. Their goalie made some unbelievable stops too. But we're happy. It's not like we're blowing teams out right now. Each game we're playing is close."
Robert Morris 0 0 0 - 0
Bemidji State 0 0 2 - 0
First period - No scoring.
Penalties - BSU, Adams (hooking), 1:00. RMU, Cowan (interference), 5:30.
Second period - No scoring.
Penalties - BSU, Read (interference), 1:48. RMU, Longpre (interference), 2:13. BSU, (too man men, served by Aaron McLeod, 10:39.
Third period - 1. BSU, Matt Read (Jordan George, Chris Peluso), 8:23. 2. BSU, George 3 (Read, Peluso), 19:37, (en).
Penalties - RMU, Lundholm (interference), 3:25. BSU, Areshenko (tripping), 10:16.
Shots on goal - RMU 10-7-6--23. BSU 11-15-13--39.
Goalies - RMU, Brooks Ostergard (39-37). BSU, Dan Bakala (23-23).
Power plays - RMU, 0-for-4. BSU, 0-for-3.