February 21, 2008
Numbers Game: BSU-RMU Series Had it All

By Warren Kozireski

Bemidji State senior goaltender Matt Climie entered last weekend's series at Robert Morris with a shutout streak of 68:43 against the Colonials and started well, keeping the home team off the scoreboard in the first period.

College Hockey America Notebook

Bemidji State goalie Matt Climie allowed three goals in the second period of Robert Morris's 4-1 win over the Beavers last weekend. It was the first time this season Climie had given up three goals in a period.

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Everything changed in the second as the Colonials were on their way to a 4-1 win. Logan Bittle scored his first goal of the season at 7:37 of the middle stanza to snap the scoreless streak at 96:20. Before the period was over, Sean Berkstresser and Tom Biondich also tallied. It marked the first time Climie, who entered the weekend ranked third in the nation in goals against average, had allowed three goals in a period this season.

In fact, the last time he allowed the triple was against — you guessed it — Robert Morris in a College Hockey America playoff semifinal match last year in Des Moines.

In the third period, Ryan Cruthers scored a shorthanded goal, the first shortie allowed by Climie since Nov. 9.

“I’m aware that Climie is having a good season, but I was just trying to be solid for my team down the stretch,” said Robert Morris senior goaltender Christian Boucher after Friday's game. “I went through a tad of a slump in the middle of the year, but I’ve been feeling real good in practice and converting that to games.”

“There’s not much to say,” said Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore. “The better team won and they deserved everything they got. They just played with more intensity and won all the battles for the loose pucks.

“This time of year, it’s not systems, but it’s how you respond, it’s how you react, it’s how you execute. When the time of possession game is two-thirds to one-third, it will be very difficult to win the hockey game."

“They took it too us up there [in late January] and we knew we had to match their intensity,” said RMU coach Derek Schooley. “That’s what good hockey teams do and they are a good hockey team. If they punch you in the face, you need to punch them back. Not literally, but you need to be ready to respond when they take it to you.”

The Beavers rebounded Saturday with the allegorical punch in the face Schooley discussed, pasting RMU, 7-2. The game featured five goaltenders between the two teams and seven unanswered goals from the Beavers. Travis Winter netted two goals and one assist, while Tyler Scofield registered a three assists.

As for the goalie carousel, Climie started in net for the Beavers, but gave way to Orlando Alamano with 10 minutes remaining in regulation. Robert Morris started Boucher, but Schooley yanked him 9:31 into the first period after allowing three goals on four shots. His replacement, Wes Russell, played 34 seconds before Boucher re-entered the game. He game up two goals on nine shots over a 16-minute span of the first and second periods before yielding to Jim Patterson, who played the remaining 14 minutes of the second period, allowing two goals on eight shots. Russell played the entire third period, stopping all six shots he faced.

With the split, Bemidji State is now even closer to its third CHA regular-season title. A sweep at home in two weeks against Wayne State in their final two conference games would give the Beavers 29 points. Even if Robert Morris wins its last four conference games, the Colonials would max out at 28 points.

Niagara, currently in third place with 18 points, has six league games remaining and would need to sweep all 12 points [if the Beavers also sweep] to earn its third consecutive crown.

Bemidji State travels to Ralph Engelstad Arena this weekend for two non-conference games against North Dakota — the Beavers have never beaten the Fighting Sioux, who currently ride an 11-game unbeaten streak. Robert Morris has an exhibition game against the U.S. Under-18 team at home Saturday.


Less Reaney: Niagara learned the day prior to its last non-conference game of the season that it was losing junior forward Les Reaney for good.

The Saskatchewan native signed a professional contract with Edmonton and was assigned to the American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Mass.

“That was a bombshell for us,” said Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder. “Around noon [Friday], Les Reaney asked to see me privately and said that he had signed with Edmonton.

“There is a part of me who is proud of him and happy for him, but as an educator and college coach, it's my job to get these guys to graduation and commencement on time. He thought the money and the opportunity was something he should take and we support him and his dream.

“He leaves the program with 99 career points and helped us win two regular-season titles. I would have liked to have this be a month and half down the road, but we wish him the best.”

The Purple Eagles followed the Reaney announcement by skating to a 3-3 tie at Burkholder’s alma mater, RIT. That extended their record against the Tigers as Division I programs to 2-0-1.

“I’m just glad that we’ve got this scheduling alliance going and I truly hope that we can play each other every year," said Burkholder. "That’s our plan.”

Great Weekend Getaway
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Niagara at Alabama-Huntsville
In the weekend's only conference series, Niagara makes up the two games in hand it holds on second-place Robert Morris and puts its eight-game unbeaten streak on the line. The Chargers try to close the gap on fourth-place Wayne State, which is idle this weekend.

While You're There: After Saturday's hockey game, check out men’s basketball as Alabama-Huntsville hosts North Alabama at 7 p.m.

Stick Salute

Robert Morris senior forward Logan Bittle scored his first goal of the season — the first of four in a row for the Colonials — and assisted on another to propel his team to a 4-1 win against Bemidji State Friday.

“It was good to see him get the monkey off his back because he is a goal scorer, but that was his best game of the year by far,” said RMU coach Derek Schooley.

Bench Minor

Bemidji State forward Tyler Lehrke was on the ice for all four even strength goals in a 4-1 loss at Robert Morris Friday. He rebounded with an assist and +1 Saturday.

Splitsville: Wayne State and Alabama-Huntsville split their weekend series, which allowed the Warriors to keep their three-point cushion for fourth place with eight points outstanding for both.

Derek Bachynski picked up five points on the weekend for the Warriors while Kevin Morrison had two goals and four points in the two-game set for the Chargers.

Alabama-Huntsville wraps up their home schedule this weekend against Niagara. They are 2-1-2 over their last five games against the Purps, including a 5-3 upset in last season's playoff semifinals. The Warriors have the weekend off.


• “Cruthers for the Hobey” posters were seen hanging throughout the Island Sports Center Complex for Robert Morris's games against Bemidji State last weekend. Cruthers, with 19 goals and 42 points, is fourth in the country in scoring.

• Robert Morris is now 3-50-4 all-time when allowing four or more goals in a game.

• Bemidji State is now 74-30-14 in conference play. That's the fourth-best all-time record in league games based on winning percentage in Division I. The Beavers trail Cornell, Michigan, and Boston College on that list.

• BSU defenseman Cody Bostock has scored 10 of his 15 points this season on the road.

• Freshmen Ryan Cramer and Dan McIntyre teamed up for their first collegiate points in Bemidji State uniforms in Saturday’s victory at Robert Morris. Cramer scored the Beavers' sixth goal of the night midway through the second period. McIntyre earned the second assist.

• Wayne State’s Ryan Adams also picked up his first career goal Saturday on an empty-netter in the Warriors' 4-2 win at Alabama-Huntsville

• Niagara senior forward Taylor Simpson was in the lineup for last Saturday's game against RIT, his first game action since Dec. 15.

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