Robert Morris was the last conference loss
Bemidji State suffered way back on Nov. 10. After a team
record 11-game conference unbeaten streak, the Colonials
again were the culprit in handing the Beavers 4-2 and 4-1
losses. That, with last weekend's sweep of Niagara, gives
Bobby Mo a team record four consecutive CHA victories and
a team record five straight in the win column. And the Colonials
are now just one point behind second-place Niagara (albeit
with the Purps holding two games in hand) and are two points
from clinching third place and the best finish in the program's
"We're working hard and getting timely
goaltending and timely offense," said Robert Morris
head coach Derek Schooley. "We knew this was a make
or break time for us going against Niagara and Bemidji and
then Niagara again next week.
"We knew it was a tough stretch, but
I'm pleased with how we've started things. We're not relying
on just Aaron Clarke and Ryan Cruthers. They're scoring,
but we have others getting it done as well."
The Beavers came into the series having allowed
just three goals in the previous four contests all-time
on the Island, but the Colonials found the net four times
each night. The Colonial defense blocked 17 shots the first
Robert Morris has already set team records
for conference wins in a season (9) and total wins in a
"You always want to strive for the highest
you can, but when we were 5-7 after getting swept by Wayne
State, at that point we were hoping to keep our head above
water and get the (first round) bye," said Schooley.
"Now we've put ourselves in a good position, but we're
not done yet with four league games and Niagara having two
games-in-hand. Everybody's scoreboard watching."
"They're a veteran team with most of
their team having played 80 or 90 games," said Bemidji
State head coach Tom Serratore. "They're an old, wily
team and they were the better hockey team."
After netting 13 goals over his first two
campaigns, junior forward Logan Bittle had scored just twice
in his first 23 games this season. He decided to get hot
at the right time with three in four games, including putting
the Colonials ahead for good in the first game win over
the Beavers with a goal in the second period after assisting
on the games first tally and another in the nightcap.
"My line (with Kyle Frieday and Sean
Berkstresser) got together two weeks ago and we seem to
work pretty well together," said Bittle. "To be
honest with you we expected this all year. No one really
respects us in our league except for us and those guys in
the locker room know that on any given night we can beat
any team. I think we're starting to put it together now,
so we're happy about that."
SEEN AND HEARD IN CHA
As CHA turns ... : Since
the publication of last week's CHA Notebook, I had the opportunity
to listen to the complete interview with WCHA commissioner
Bruce MacLeod that aired on Mix 103.7, KKBJ in Bemidji.
Despite Beaver head coach Tom Serratore's denial last week,
the interview bears out the Beavers bid is in process.
In the interview, MacLeod states "the
question is how does Bemidji make us (the WCHA) better and
is twelve better than eleven. We heard from Bemidji at our
January meetings in Orlando. Now it goes to our structure
committee and they'll come back to our annual meeting in
April with all the pros and cons. If I was Bemidji, I would
make sure somebody is willing to bring a petition (to lift
moratorium on expansion) forward ... and should work on
getting some friends."
Bemidji's Erickson back in lineup:
One day after losing senior forward Shane Holman
to a separated left shoulder, Bemidji State welcomed back
pre-season CHA Co-Player of the Year Luke Erickson after
a 15-game layoff due to a broken leg. Even with only 13
games played, Erickson still leads the team with 10 goals.
Holman hopes to be ready for the conference playoffs.
"It felt a lot better than I thought
it would," said Erickson after the game. "I was
a little nervous that first shift until I took that first
hit, but the adrenaline got going and I really didn't think
about it. Skating was no problem, it was more getting back
into game shape and we'll see what happens next week."
The senior played on the second line with
Travis Winter and Tyler Scofield and needs one assist to
tie Andrew Murray's Division I era team record with 60.
Great Weekend Getaway
Weekend (Fri.-Sat.) It's three-peat weekend…with the league
down to five teams, the schedule has some teams playing
three series per season against fellow CHA members.
This weekend features two of those "third meetings"
with Niagara at Wayne State and Alabama-Huntsville
at Bemidji State.
While you’re there: Check
out any one of five events all part of the 26th Annual
2007 Finlandia Ski Marathon.
Morris forward Ryan Cruthers scored three goals,
including a game-winner in the weekend sweep over Bemidji
State. His 11 goals this season matches his career output
for his first two seasons at Army.
State junior defenseman Dave Deterding was
on the ice for all four Robert Morris goals in the
second game of the RMU sweep — all at even strength.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Bemidji State broke a streak Saturday
where they allowed at least one power play goal in 12 consecutive
• Beavers defenseman Nathan Schwartzbauer
broke Jesse Balsimo's school record for career games played
without scoring a goal (113 games from 2000-2004) eight
games ago. He is now at 121 and counting.
• Niagara is 15-3-2 in the last 20 meetings
with Wayne State including four straight this season.
• Wayne State is 1-13 this season when
held off the scoreboard with the man advantage.
• Alabama-Huntsville will be looking
to end a five game non-winning streak against Bemidji State
this weekend. They are 2-8-1 in their last 11 Beaver meetings.
• Robert Morris is now 10-4-2 in their
last 16 home games.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Warren Kozireski can be
reached at email@example.com.