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MEN’S HOCKEY: Beavers avenge loss to top UAH 5-1

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A third-period scoring flurry gave the Bemidji State men’s hockey team the extra cushion it needed to beat Alabama Huntsville 5-1 Saturday night at the Von Braun Center.

The win avenged a 5-1 loss in Friday’s series opener for the Beavers (14-8-6, 11-5-4-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) and clinched the season series over the Chargers (9-17-2, 8-12-2-1 WCHA).

Charlie Combs scored the lone goal of the opening 40 minutes with his first-period strike for BSU, which owned a 1-0 lead until Justin Baudry buried twice and Aaron Miller once in the third.

There were more ejections than goals through the first two periods of the game. Brennan Saulnier was given a game misconduct for checking from behind less than a minute into the contest, setting Bemidji State up on a five-minute power play right off the bat.

Kyle Bauman found Combs in the slot on the advantage, firing it by goalie Jordan Uhelski for the opening goal 2 minutes, 53 seconds in.

Dillon Eichstadt became the second player to be tossed from the game due to a hit from behind when he was assessed a game misconduct at 13:50 of the first, though BSU survived the five-minute penalty.

The Beavers dramatically outshot UAH 27-7 through two periods, but the lead was stuck at 1-0 entering the final frame.

It was Baudry who broke through for the eventual game-winner, sniping a shot from the point to allow the Beavers some breathing room at 7:05 of the third period. The goal touched off a scoring onslaught in the final period.

Miller bagged his second goal of the weekend with his power-play tally. Minutes later, Baudry netted his second of the game off assists from Miller and Brad Johnson, the first career point for the freshman defenseman, as the lead grew to 4-0 within a span of five minutes.

Max McHugh erased Michael Bitzer’s shutout effort, beating the goalie five-hole at 13:03 of the frame to put UAH on the board.

But just like Friday, the game ended with a one-sided score, only this time it was Bemidji State that came out on top 5-1 after T.J. Roo added an empty netter in the final minutes.

Bitzer stopped 11 of 12 shots in goal while Uhelski made 31 saves on 36 shots for the Chargers.

The BSU power-play unit went 2-for-5 on the night while the penalty kill held Huntsville to a fruitless 0-for-3 night.

Saturday's win clinched a WCHA playoff spot for the Beavers. The first round of the playoffs begins March 2-4. Minnesota State, Northern Michigan and Bowling Green have already clinched playoff berths and four spots remain open with a month left in the regular season.

The Beavers will come home next weekend for a WCHA series against Lake Superior State. Those games are scheduled for 7:07 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, and Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Sanford Center.

Bemidji State 5, Alabama Huntsville 1

BSU 1 0 4 -- 5

UAH 0 0 1 -- 1

First period -- 1, BSU, Combs (Bauman, Brady), 2:53, PP.

Second period -- No scoring.

Third period -- 2, BSU, Baudry (Billett, Whitecloud), 7:05; 3, BSU, Miller (Harris), 9:31, PP; 4, BSU, Baudry (Miller, Johnson), 12:19; 5, UAH, McHugh (Knight, Poulsen), 13:03; 6, BSU, Roo (unassisted), 18:37, EN.

Goaltending (Shots-Saves) -- BSU, Bitzer (12-11); UAH, Uhelski (36-31).

Austin Monteith

Austin Monteith is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He is an Illinois native and a Butler University graduate. Follow him on Twitter @amonteith92.

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