MEN’S HOCKEY: Driscoll, Beavers complete sweep with Senior Day shutout
Senior Zach Driscoll made 13 saves in a 4-0 Senior Day shutout of Alabama Huntsville, his second in as many days following Saturday’s 2-0 win.
BEMIDJI -- Zach Driscoll posted his second consecutive shutout to cap a regular-season-ending series sweep in a 4-0 victory over Alabama Huntsville on Sunday afternoon at the Sanford Center. The senior netminder made 13 saves in a Senior Day shutout, his second in as many days following Saturday’s 2-0 win.
“Back-to-back shutouts helps the confidence of any goalie,” Driscoll said. “The defensive effort in front of me was great both nights and limited the high-chance scoring opportunities for them.”
The No. 17 Beavers finish the regular season with a 13-8-3 overall record, and a 8-5-1 mark against Western Collegiate Hockey Association opponents. They’ll open the WCHA playoffs next weekend as the No. 4 seed hosting fifth-seeded Michigan Tech in a best-of-three quarterfinal series at the Sanford Center.
Driscoll and fellow seniors Brendan Harris, Brad Johnson, Aaron Miller, Ethan Somoza and Tyler Vold were honored in a pregame ceremony that included a special video message. Family, friends, and even Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull, took turns introducing the seniors in the starting lineup.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Driscoll said of being a member of this senior class.
The netminder transferred to BSU prior to the 2018-19 season after playing his freshman year at St. Cloud State in 2016-17, spending a year in the USHL in between.
“I joined them a little bit late, and they welcomed me with open arms,” Driscoll added. “Just going to work every day, Monday through Thursday, and then battling on the weekends with these guys. It means a lot to me to be a part of it, for sure.”
All six seniors have carried key roles for the Beavers during their time wearing green and white.
“These guys have been heavy contributors to this program,” head coach Tom Serratore said. “(They’re) high character guys. It’s one of the best groups we’ve had, from start to finish, in this program. They’ve accomplished a lot. They’ve had a lot of success. We owe a lot to those guys.”
Bemidji State nearly led from the get-go Sunday.
Alex Ierullo picked his own rebound out of a scrum and lifted it top shelf for the opening goal 2:11 into the game.
Another rebound led to Brad Belisle’s goal with 6:08 to play in the second. Brendan Harris fired the initial shot and Will Zmolek earned the secondary assist.
Ross Armour and Alex Adams tallied two goals in a span of only 27 seconds early in the third period to put the game on ice.
Armour tipped Adams's shot through traffic past a screened Derek Krall in the crease for the first goal. On the second, Adams redirected a shot from the point to extend the lead to 4-0 at the 2:19 mark in the period.
“There’s no easy games. It was nice scoring that goal within the first couple minutes of the game,” Serratore said. “I was really happy with our third period. It was nice scoring some goals and getting a good cushion.”
Driscoll stopped all 29 shots that came his way during the weekend sweep. Krall totaled 25 saves on 29 shots in Sunday’s loss as the Chargers finish 3-16-1 overall with a 3-11-0 mark in WCHA play.
UAH was held 0-for-3 on the power play, and BSU went 0-for-2.
The Beavers will open their WCHA quarterfinal series against Michigan Tech at 7:07 p.m. on Friday, March 12. Game 2 is scheduled for 6:07 p.m. Saturday, March 13, with Game 3 set for 5:07 p.m. Sunday, March 14, if needed. All games will be played at the Sanford Center.
“We’ll rest up a little a bit, get the bodies ready to go, but it’s back to work right away this week,” said Driscoll following a stretch of six games in 11 days in which Bemidji State went 4-2-0. “From a mental standpoint, physical standpoint, we’re doing everything we can to prepare for those guys. They’re a really good team, so we just have to do everything we can to be ready.”
No. 17 Bemidji State 4, Alabama Huntsville 0
UAH 0 0 0 -- 0
BSU 1 1 2 -- 4
First period -- 1, BSU, Ierullo (Kirkup, L. Sillinger), 2:11.
Second period -- 2, BSU, Belisle (Harris, Zmolek), 13:52.
Third period -- 3, BSU, Armour (Adams, Jubenvill), 1:52; 4, BSU, Adams (Johnson, Armour), 2:19.
Goalies (saves-shots) -- BSU, Driscoll (13-13); UAH, Krall (25-29).