December 6, 2007
Beavers Lodge Claim to CHA Superiority

By Warren Kozireski

The primary series in College Hockey America last weekend (Bemidji State at Niagara) had two main storylines — one everyone in the league is familiar with, and one that anyone who wasn't at Dwyer Arena or listening/watching to the game broadcast knows about because not one game recap mentioned it.

The Streak and The No-Goal.

College Hockey America Notebook

Forward Chris Moran scored in Niagara's first goal in the team's 2-2 tie against Bemidji State Saturday.

National TV Schedule

Bemidji State, led by Tyler Scofield’s two goals and Cody Bostock’s goal and an assists effort along with goaltender Matt Climie’s 30 saves, ended Niagara’s 22-game home unbeaten streak with a 5-1 win Friday

The Beavers scored twice on a five-minute power play, the result of a major penalty assessed to freshman Brian Haczyk 28 seconds into the game, putting the Purple Eagles behind the eight-ball right away. They never recovered.

“It’s been 22 home games since we’ve been disappointed with our play at home, so it’s been an unbelievable run,” said Niagara coach Dave Burkholder. “It started to take on a life of its own about halfway through last year. It was a great ride and tough that it ended, but we can start another one.”

Fast forward to game two Saturday. The Purple Eagles again get off to a slow start, with BSU's Matt Read converting a Niagara turnover into a shorthanded goal six minutes into the contest and Riley Weselowski netting his first goal of the season with 27 seconds left in the first.

Niagara's Chris Moran tucked one in early in the second period to halve the lead. With 1:26 left in regulation and goaltender Juliano Pagliero pulled for an extra attacker, the Purple Eagles' Matt Caruana scored on a knuckle-puck to tie the game and send it to overtime.

“I went out when the goalie came off and [junior forward Ted Cook] gave me a pass that went off their defenseman’s skates and got caught in my feet a little bit and buckled me," Caruana said. "It went up and dipped right over his shoulder. It looked pretty ugly, but it went in.”

The box score doesn’t indicate the game's critical juncture, however. In overtime, Vince Rocco's shot from the high slot glanced off of Climie’s glove and appeared to trickle across the goal line. One problem: the goal light didn't come on, there was no assistant referee in the vicinity, and referee Jeff Zelasko was just above the faceoff circle and out of position to make the call.

The apparent goal was waved off. For Niagara, it was goodbye overtime win, goodbye split, and goodbye national ranking.

Whenever these two teams get together — and they won’t do so again during the regular season — coaches are checking video after the game. Some may remember a similar situation involving these same teams last season. A Bemidji State player appeared to score a game-tying goal after the final horn sounded, but it was allowed by the referees after much discussion.

Controversial? Sure. Entertaining? Definitely.

“What a great hockey game,” said Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore to the Bemidji Pioneer. “Nobody deserved to lose that one. It was championship-game caliber hockey.”

“The last 40 minutes of the weekend were our best and that’s what we’ll take out of this weekend,” said Burkholder. “Offensively, we are not where we could be and should be with the guys we have in the room. The good news is that it’s Dec. 1, and I think it’s a bump in the road that will make us a better team in the long run.”

“We’re not too thrilled with this weekend,” concluded Caruana. “Maybe it’ll be a bit of a wake-up call. Obviously we’d like to have the streak still going, but if there is a positive side [it is] we can stop thinking about it and not have the pressure.”


Crunching the Numbers: The CHA standings are a bit misleading due to the league's unbalanced schedule. After this weekend, second-place Robert Morris will have six games in hand on first-place Bemidji State. But it’s not how many potential points are out there ... it’s what you do with them.

Non-Conference Call: Non-conference action last weekend was not kind to the CHA, but both teams engaged in non-league series were competitive in at least one of the two games.

Bowling Green went 6-for-12 on the power play as the Falcons swept Wayne State in their home-and-home series by 3-1 and 6-1 scores. This weekend, the Warriors travel to Western Michigan for two games. They're looking for their first goal in Kalamazoo after being shut out last season in their only previous appearance at Lawson Ice Arena.

Robert Morris dropped a pair of games in its first-ever meeting at Colgate, but not without a fight, especially in Saturday's series opener. Trailing 4-1 late in the third, Chris Margott and Ryan Cruthers scored over the final five minutes of regulation only to lose by a 4-3 margin. Colgate goalie Mark Dekanich stopped a late Colonial breakaway bid to preserve the win. In the finale, RMU put 38 shots on net but were shut out for the second time in six games.

“I think we’ve been a victim of unbelievable goaltending,” said Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley. “[Dekanich] was phenomenal. They maximized their chances and we minimized ours.”

Christian Boucher started in net for the Colonials Sunday after taking the previous night off. However, he allowed two goals in a 34-second span of the first period, prompting Schooley to pull him for 19 seconds in favor of backup Jim Patterson.

“I told him he needed to get his head up,” said Schooley. “He turned the puck over on the first goal, and I think it affected him on the second one. It was more to wake him and the team up and I didn’t want to waste a timeout that early. I thought he played pretty well after that, but we had to expand our game and take more chances after that.”

“I don’t think the scoreboard reflected the level of competitiveness of this weekend.”

The Colonials host Quinnipiac this weekend. RMU will attempt to break a four-game losing streak against the Bobcats.

Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Alabama-Huntsville at Bemidji State (Fri.-Sat.)

First-place Bemidji State hosts last place Alabama-Huntsville in this week’s only conference match-up. The Beavers earned three points in their two-game series down south in November, one on a shutout by goaltender Matt Climie.

While You're There: You don’t have to be a senior citizen to partake of the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the Bemidji Senior Center starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Gotta have those carbs to prep for game two ...

Stick Salute

Though it ended up losing 3-1 to Bowling Green Friday, Wayne State clamped down on the Falcons, allowing just two shots in the third period. The Warriors could not get any closer, however.

Bench Minor

Niagara was credited with just one shot on goal in the first period of Saturday's tie with Bemidji State. That and going 1-13 (8%) on the power play for the weekend won’t take any team very far, regardless of how good they are in their own building.


• Robert Morris is in the midst of playing 10 of 12 games on the road. After this weekend, they next play at home January 29, when they host Princeton.

“It’s a long time on the road and we need to start to figure out how to get things done away from home. We’ve won one road game (Ohio State, but also two neutral site wins at Nye Frontier Classic in October) and we need to get better,” said Schooley.

• The RMU coaching staff took advantage of the trip to Colgate by scouting an Eastern Junior Hockey League game Saturday as South Division leader New Jersey visited North Division front-runner Syracuse. Niagara was also represented at the same game.

• Wayne State sophomore Jeff Caister is one of just six Division I defensemen to lead his team in scoring. The others: Alaska's Tyler Eckford, Connecticut's Sean Erickson, Alaska, Minnesota-Duluth's Josh (Don't Call Me Jess) Meyers, Matt Taormina of Providence, and Maine's Bret Tyler.

• Bemidji State junior forward Brandon Marino missed last weekend's trip to Niagara due to surgery for appendicitis.

• Wayne State senior forward Stavros Paskaris moved into a tie with 2006 grad Steve Kovalchik for ninth all-time on the school's scoring list. In 112 career games, Paskaris has 23 goals and 44 assists for 67 points.

• Niagara forward Les Reaney was scratched for Friday's game against Bemidji State — the day the home unbeaten streak ended. The last time Reaney was a scratch? The day the streak started — Feb. 11, 2006, against Air Force.

• Wayne State and Alabama-Huntsville are the only two Division I teams scoring an average of less than two goals per game. The Warriors average 1.86 goals per game; the Chargers get a meager 1.80 goals per contest.

• Mark your calendars so you don’t miss your chance if you’re in the INCH Pick ‘Em: Alabama-Huntsville hosts Robert Morris Mon.-Tues., December 17-18.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. Warren Kozireski can be reached at