Bemidji State clinched its third regular season
College Hockey America title with a come-from-behind sweep
over visiting Wayne State last weekend. That, combined with
the Niagara sweep over Robert Morris, locks in the top three
spots in the league standings. The Purple Eagles finish
second, with the Colonials in third.
“It was a nice win,” Bemidji State
coach Tom Serratore told the Bemidji Pioneer. “Any
time you win a championship it is gratifying. This may be
sweetest of the three we’ve won. We were pretty consistent
over the course of the league season.
Hockey America Notebook
Pope was one of three Bemidji State players to score
during the last eight minutes of regulation as the
Beavers rallied to beat Wayne State last Friday.
"Playing under the cloud of talk about
the program’s future and the future of the CHA ...
was tough. It wasn’t an easy situation [but] it just
makes this title that much sweeter.”
Matt Francis, Riley Weselowski, and Matt Pope
scored three unanswered goals in the final eight minutes
of regulation to help the Beavers overcome a 5-4 deficit
en route to a 7-5 win Friday. The following night, freshman
Ryan Cramer scored two goals in the second period to stake
BSU to a two-goal lead it would not relinquish, eventually
winning by a 5-3 count.
It's the third regular-season title in Bemidji
State’s Division I history — the Beavers won
back-to-back crowns in 2004 and 2005. BSU also advanced
to the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and 2006 after defeating
Alabama-Huntsville and Niagara, respectively, in the CHA
playoff title game.
The Beavers are idle this weekend.
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CHA
A Matter of Seconds: Niagara
secured second place in the conference with a convincing
6-3, 7-1 weekend sweep at home Robert Morris. It marked
the first sweep in seven series among the top three teams
in the league this season.
Saturday's game was played in front of 2,100
fans, the largest crowd in Niagara men’s hockey history.
“It's been a good run — we’ve
lost one of our last eleven,” said Niagara head coach
Dave Burkholder. “You need to play well in February
if you have any hope of playing well in March, which we
learned last year the hard way. It’s a team on a mission
It could have gotten ugly early in game two
for the Purple Eagles after senior Taylor Simpson was assessed
a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a hitting-from-behind
penalty just 14 seconds into the game. But Niagara killed
off the power play, thanks in part to a Colonials' minor
during the major. Vince Rocco scored a 4-on-4 goal at 1:38
and the Purps never looked back, with seven even-strength
“Taylor Simpson is a quality guy and
that was out of character for him,” said Burkholder.
“But we gave him the start as a senior [on Senior
Night] and he’s full of energy, but he’s not
that kind of player. It was unfortunate and we’re
trying to get that out of the game.”
The hit took RMU senior center and top penalty-killer
Tom Biondich out of the game with a head injury.
“Obviously he has a concussion and it
was a vicious hit — it was bad,” said Robert
Morris coach Derek Schooley. “That’s what the
five-minute majors are for, but we lost a top penalty killer
and a good energy guy and it set us back a little bit.”
Egor Mironov and Ryan Annesley scored later
in the first before Rocco and Dan Sullivan sandwiched second-period
goals around an RMU power-play tally Kyle Burton. Brian
Haczyk and Ted Cook added third-period goals for Niagara.
“It was a special night and a special
weekend,” said Niagara senior captain Matt Caruana.
“But it’s not near over. We have the tournament
here and then hopefully the NCAAs. It was nice, but not
“Everything that could happen to us,
happened this weekend,” said Schooley. “We got
out-goaltended, we got out-defensed, we got outscored, we
got outhit, and we got outworked. They were a much more
gritty, physical team and it showed. They won five of six
periods this weekend and hats off to them. I’m very
disappointed in our hockey team right now. This weekend
The Colonials host Alabama-Huntsville this
weekend and though RMU is locked into third place in the
CHA standings, the team is vying to finish with a winning
record for the first time in the program’s four-year
history. RMU has a 2-1-1 advantage against UAH so far this
season. The four previous meetings have been high-scoring
games, with the two teams combining for 35 goals.
Niagara travels to Wayne State this weekend
for the final two home games in Warrior history. The Purps
are 4-0 against the Warriors this season, but three of the
four were one-goal affairs.
The only thing left unanswered in terms of
playoff seeding is who will be the home team for next week's
Wayne State-Alabama Huntsville play-in game. The Warriors
have a one-point lead on the Chargers and own the tiebreaker
with two games remaining.
Great Weekend Getaway
at Wayne State
(Fri.-Sat.) Even the Purple Eagles should wear black
armbands to commemorate the final two home games in
Wayne State hockey history.
While You're There: All of Saturday's
college games are at night, so find a local establishment
with the NHL Center Ice package and catch the Bruins
and Capitals at 1p.m. Think the Caps can hang another
10-spot on the B's?
goaltender Orlando Alamano took the place of starter
Matt Climie last Friday against Wayne State and picked
up the third win of his career after entering a game
in relief to set the school's Division I-era record.
To the officials
who pulled the plug on the Wayne State program, making
this weekend the last at the Fairgrounds and possibly
jeopardizing the future of College Hockey America
with their decision.
Weekend Wrap: Bemidji State
dropped 5-1 and 1-0 decisions at North Dakota, with defenseman
Riley Weselowski netting the only goal of the weekend for
the Beavers. Orlando Alamano stopped 31 shots in goal in
the 1-0 loss, allowing just one early third-period tally.
Meanwhile, David Boguslawski, scored twio
second-period goals, but Robert Morris lost an exhibition
contest to the U.S. Under-18 Team, 5-2.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• Monday’s Bemidji Pioneer
reported that Bemidji's regional events center was included
in the Minnesota House of Representatives' bonding bill
released that morning. The measure seeks $20 million for
the project. The proposed Bemidji events center was also
included in the Senate Capital Investment Committee’s
$965 million state building projects bonding bill, fully
funded at $22 million.
The $50 million events center, proposed to
be located on the south shore of Lake Bemidji, would serve
as an events and convention center and would feature Bemidji
State hockey as its anchor tenant.
• In the second game of the Niagara-Robert
Morris series, Purple Eagles junior forward Vince Rocco
made a sweeping motion of the ice with his glove after scoring
98 seconds into the game. It was in direct response to Colonial
freshman defenseman Denny Urban, who did the same one night
earlier, which spurred the Purps to five unanswered goals
in the romp. As fate would have it, Niagara’s fifth
goal of the second game deflected in off of Urban’s
“Their guy did it last night and the
adrenaline was flowing and it was the first thing that came
to my head,” said Rocco. “I kind of regret it
now, but it wasn’t planned at all.”
• Wayne State senior captain Mike Forgie
was tabbed as one of six male skaters to participate in
the Frozen Four Skills Competition, which will take place
on Friday, April 11 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Bemidji
State goaltender Matt Climie is listed as an alternate.
• Robert Morris has allowed 20 goals
over its last three games. Late last season, the Colonials
suffered the same kind of defensive slump down the stretch
when they gave up 42 goals over their last eight games.
• Niagara forward Ryan Olidis left Saturday’s
game against RMU in the second period with a hip injury.
His status for the weekend and beyond is not known.
• Speaking of Niagara, the Purps are
one of just seven Division I teams with fewer than 10 losses.
The others are Michigan, Miami, Michigan State, New Hampshire,
and Colorado College.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Warren Kozireski can be
reached at email@example.com.