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Is there anything sweeter in college hockey than ending a long road trip with a sweep over a major rival in an arena where success has been very hard to come by? Nothing comes quickly to mind. So it's very understandable that the Bemidji State men's hockey team was basking in the satisfaction of completing such a sweep Friday, ripping Niagara 4-1 at Dwyer Arena.
Trailing 1-0 less than five minutes into the game, it looked like the Bemidji State men's hockey might be in line for a road-weary loss Thursday in Niagara Falls, N.Y. But then, as they say, the worm turned. The Beavers dug deep and kicked into gear, scoring three unanswered goals en route to a 3-1 victory over the Niagara Purple Eagles. It was a big win for the Beavers who had been on the road for seven days and played their third game in six days. "In my 10 years as coach," said BSU head coach Tom Serratore, "I'd rank this game up there with the comeback road win we had against Minnesota
This is exactly where the Beavers hoped to be at this point of the season --playing at league foe Niagara with first place in the College Hockey America conference on the line. Well, maybe not exactly. It's certain that if the Bemidji State men's hockey team had its druthers, it would love to have put regular season league title away by now. But that's not reality. History shows the CHA regular season title has typically come down to the last weekend of play.
When the 2008-09 schedule came out, the Bemidji State men's hockey program took special notice of a road trip in mid-February. The road trip included a series at Robert Morris followed by another at Niagara. The hope was the Beavers would be in a position where the road trip would mean something as far as determining the regular season College Hockey America champion. Well, that time is now.
One period of strong play usually isn't enough to get it done in a men's college hockey game. But it was enough for the Beavers Saturday as Bemidji State (13-13-0, 9-3-0 CHA) completed the sweep of College Hockey America rival University of Alabama-Huntsville (4-15-3, 2-7-3 CHA) with a 4-2 win. The Beavers scored three first-period goals in the first 13:10, then went silent the rest of the way until the closing seconds of the game. The Chargers answered with a goal at the end of the first and one in the second to make it a game.
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.
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 Bemidji High boys hockey team learned a valuable lesson Tuesday night ... hopefully. If the Jacks want to compete against teams in the upper echelon of the state rankings, they need to play three strong periods of hockey. The Jacks played a solid third period at the John Glas Fieldhouse Tuesday, but it was not enough -- despite the stellar goaltending of Derek Dudgeon. The Lumberjacks senior ended the night with 36 saves -- several spectacular -- that kept the game close. Hermantown built a 3-1 lead after two periods and made it stand up in notching its 18th victory of the season.
Bemidji State sophomore Matt Read had three points and goaltender Matt Dalton posted 25 saves as the Bemidji State men's hockey team topped Robert Morris University 5-3 Friday in Pittsburgh. Read had a goal and a pair of assist to help the Beavers (10-13-0, 6-3-0 CHA) top RMU in the first meeting of the year between the two teams. A wild first period had the Beavers jumping out to a 2-0 lead with the Colonials (5-14-4, 1-4-2 CHA) coming back to tie with a pair of goals in just 29 near the end of the period. The teams then traded power play goals early in the second to remain tied at 3-3.
The road to a College Hockey America regular season championship for Bemidji State travels through Pittsburgh this week as the Beavers (9-13-0, 5-3-0 CHA) hit the road to face the Robert Morris Colonials (5-12-4, 1-3-2 CHA). The two teams will get to know each other very well in a short amount of time as BSU and Robert Morris will play four times in a span of three weeks in Pennsylvania, then conclude the regular season with yet another series March 6-7 in Bemidji. "We'll be playing four games at Robert Morris in a short amount of time," said Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore.