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The Robert Morris Colonials hadn't defeated Niagara University in over a year, a streak stretching nine games. All that was forgotten Friday afternoon at the John Glas Fieldhouse as Robert Morris (10-17-7, 5-7-5 CHA) topped second seed Niagara (16-14-5, 9-5-4 CHA) 2-1 in a close and exciting game. The last time the two teams played, just two weeks ago, they skated to 3-3 and 0-0 ties, so everyone was expecting a close and hotly contested game this time around. That's exactly the way it turned out. The Colonials scored single goals in the first and second period to take a 2-0 lead.
Niagara and Robert Morris University kick off the 2009 College Hockey America Tournament today, renewing a strong rivalry. The game is set for a 2 p.m. start at the John Glas Fieldhouse. Niagara (16-13-5, 9-5-4 CHA) enters the tournament as the second seed and defending tournament champion, taking last year's title with a 3-2 win over Bemidji State. On paper, the game looks to be a mismatch. Niagara has not lost to Robert Morris (9-17-7, 5-7-5 CHA) in over a year, going 7-0-2 since Jan, 12, 2008.
A second consecutive College Hockey America title safely tucked away, the Bemidji State men's hockey team begins a bigger quest today -- a league tourney title and a bid in the NCAA Tournament. The top seeded Beavers are slated to face long time rival Alabama-Huntsville in the second semifinal of the CHA Tournament today, starting at 7 p.m. at the John Glas Fieldhouse. Tournament action is set to begin at 2 p.m. as second seed Niagara faces third seed Robert Morris. The losers of today's openers will face off in the third place game Saturday at 2 p.m.
Bemidji State head hockey coach Tom Serratore said the Beavers wouldn't celebrate wining the College Hockey America regular season title unless they won Saturday night. Well, the Beavers celebrated in style. In a dominating special teams display, which saw the Beavers (16-15-1, 12-5-1 CHA) score six goals including three shorthanded and two on the power play, Bemidji State defeated visiting Robert Morris (9-18-7, 5-8-5 CHA) 6-4 at The Glas. It was a highly emotional, wild and frantic game. "The guys wanted to take a picture with the trophy pretty bad," Serratore reported.
After playing five weeks of sound hockey the Beavers took a step back Friday, losing 3-2 to visiting Robert Morris at the John Glas Fieldhouse. The Colonials (9-17-7, 5-7-5 CHA) got the emotional lift they needed early in the game, skating off a five minute major and a 5 on 3 BSU advantage for 1:34 in the first period. RMU then scored with less than two minutes left in the first and held the lead through a scoreless second. The Beavers (15-15-1, 11-5-1 CHA) got things going a bit in the third, but only after Robert Morris took a two goal lead at the 5:50 mark.
A share of the regular season title and the top seed in the College Hockey America tournament assured, the final weekend of the regular season may seem to be a little anti-climactic for the Bemidji State men's hockey team. Don't bet on it. There are plenty of reasons for motivation. Start with the seniors. "We're down to only four more shows to put on," said Matt Francis. "We want to make sure we do all we can to make them the best." Then there's the matter of staying on a roll, peaking at the right time and gaining confidence heading into the CHA tourney.
The Bemidji State men's hockey team put on an entertaining exhibition of hockey Saturday, defeating the U.S. National U-18 team 6-3 at The Glas. But as fun as the game was to watch, what really got everyone going was when the results of the Robert Morris-Niagara score was announced. The Colonials and Purple Eagles skated to a 0-0 overtime tie - meaning Bemidji State had clinched no worse than a tie for the College Hockey America regular season title and the top seed in the CHA Tournament. The Beavers hold the top tiebreaker over Niagara, which is head to head competition.
Solid defensive and special teams play, combined with timely scoring led the Bemidji State men's hockey team to a 3-1 exhibition game win over the U.S. National U-18 team Friday at the John Glas Fieldhouse. The Beavers scored three special teams goals - two power play and one shorthanded - and shut down the visitor's power play, holding the U.S. team to a 0-for-12 effort in recording the win. The teams traded goals in the first period. Jeremy Morin scored first for the U.S. team, connecting less than two minutes into the period.
Bemidji State's late season run, in which the Beavers have gone 7-1-1 in their last nine games, has resulted in BSU being listed among the nation's elite in several statistical categories. In team categories, Bemidji State currently ranks seventh in the nation in power play efficiency, connecting at a 20.6 percent rate.
Fresh off a season-defining road sweep of Niagara, the Bemidji State men's hockey team returns to the John Glas Fieldhouse for a pair of exhibition games against the U.S.