Sedevie ready for NCAA challenge

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- He got them to the Promised Land. Now he wants to take the Beavers one step closer to hockey heaven. Bemidji State junior goaltender Layne Sedevie will be in the spotlight as the Bemidji State men's hockey team plays top-seeded...

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- He got them to the Promised Land. Now he wants to take the Beavers one step closer to hockey heaven.

Bemidji State junior goaltender Layne Sedevie will be in the spotlight as the Bemidji State men's hockey team plays top-seeded Wisconsin Saturday in the opening game of the NCAA Midwest Regional in Green Bay.

Like the Beavers, this is Sedevie's second time at The Dance. Last year, however, was different. It was Matt Climie who was the main goalie, taking over the job late in the season. Climie then got really sharp at the right time of year, posting a pair of shutouts as the Beavers won their first College Hockey America Tournament title. Climie was riding a wave of ultra-confidence leading the Beavers into their first NCAA appearance. He then played strong in net against Denver, stopping over 40 shots as the Beavers came within a whisper of upsetting the nation's top team, before falling 4-3 in overtime.

During the regular season this year, Climie and Sedevie rotated for most of the year. "Both were playing well," said BSU head coach Tom Serratore. "One might have a tough game and the other might not play so well another night from time to time. But neither one of them struggled so much that the coaching staff felt we needed to make a permanent change to one guy."

However, as the playoffs approached in March teams prefer to go with the hot hand and ride one goalie into the most crucial part of the season. "Quite honestly," Serratore reported, "we were going to go with Climie. The job was his when we went to Niagara."


But the result wasn't what anybody expected. The Beavers were handled, 6-5 in overtime and 5-1, in a disheartening sweep.

Only one regular season series remained, a key two games at home against archrival Alabama-Huntsville. "Climie had a tough weekend against Niagara so we decided to go with Layne. He understood the job was his to keep. But he also understood that we wouldn't hesitate to make a change if he didn't play well. We have that luxury when we have what I truly believe is the best one-two goalie rotation in the country."

Sedevie responded, allowing just one goal in the opener against Huntsville - a 3-1 win. He then shut out the Chargers the next night 5-0 and earned the Beavers a key second place finish in the CHA regular season and a first round conference tournament bye.

"I got off to a good start against Huntsville. Then it just carried over to the next night and on to the tourney," Sedevie said.

Sedevie continued to play strongly in the CHA tourney. Playing Huntsville once again, this time the Chargers jumped out to a 3-1 lead with about 12 minutes remaining in the game. But the Beavers completely turned the game around and Sedevie stood strong with BSU claiming a 4-3 overtime win. In the championship game Sedevie was sharp for his fourth game in a row as the Beavers won the title and another NCAA berth 4-2 over Niagara.

"When we fell behind 3-1 you could almost feel we were going to come back for the win after we scored that second goal. I was praying for it, anyway," Sedevie said. "We had it done to us all year - leading by two goals in the third and having other teams come back to win. It was our turn. It was a huge win for us."

Now it's Sedevie who's in the major spotlight. "Before the Huntsville game, (BSU captain) Jean-Guy Gervais came up to me and said, 'It's your turn, take us to the Promised Land.' It's hard not to be inspired when (Gervais) says something like that; he's so respected by everyone in this program. I really took what he said to heart."

Now, instead of cheering from the sidelines it will be Sedevie under intense scrutiny, playing the biggest game of his life. "I'm so ready," he said. "This is something I've dreamed about my whole life. I can't wait for the game."


Sedevie admits to being unhappy with his play in the years leading up to this season's shining moments. "After my injury in juniors things have been maybe a little disappointing," he said. "I knew I had the potential to play a lot better. But this is what I've been waiting for..."

Serratore said it was hard to watch Sedevie struggle during his sophomore year. "He wasn't playing with confidence and was fighting the puck a bit," Serratore said. "Obviously, he's really turned things around, especially the last couple weekends. His play has been critical to our success."

Successful goaltending, Serratore explained, is like getting on a hot streak in any other sport, such as a big hitting streak in baseball. "Suddenly the ball seems as big as a balloon coming in there," he said. "That's where Sedevie is now."

The BSU goaltender said he's taking a philosophy of doing whatever it takes to win Saturday's big game. "I see it kind of like a Manny Fernandez type thing," he said, "don't worry about what it looks like, just do whatever you have to do to keep the puck out of the net. That's my attitude."

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