College Hockey America Tournament Final
3, Bemidji State
Winter, C. Peluso
Rogers, M. Caruana
Rocco, T. Cook
Juliano Pagliero (60:00, 27 svs, 2 GA)
Matt Climie (58:55, 22 svs, 3 GA)
NIA 5/10; BS 5/10
Plays: NIA 2-4; BS 1-3
|G: Juliano Pagliero, Niagara
D: Cody Bostock, Bemidji State
D: Dan Sullivan, Niagara
F: Chris Margott, Robert Morris
F: Tyler Scofield, Bemidji State
F: Kyle Rogers, Niagara
MVP: Ted Cook, Niagara
FALLS, N.Y. — Previously, Niagara, Wayne State, and
Alabama-Huntsville (twice) and all hosted the College Hockey
America playoffs on their home ice and failed to capitalize
on the advantage.
Niagara, which has lost just two home games
in two seasons, ended that streak, skating
away with a 3-2 victory over Bemidji State Sunday at Dwyer
Arena to earn the league's playoff championship and advance
to the NCAA tournament.
Bemidji State struck first just 1:51 into
the contest on its only power play opportunity of the opening
period. Brandon Marino knocked in a rebound off a point
shot that was tipped by teammate Travis Winter and initially
stopped by Niagara goaltender Juliano Pagliero
The Purple Eagles drew even just 37 seconds
into their second man advantage. Ted Cook scored a goal
in his sixth consecutive game, tipping in Kyle Rogers shot
from the left point at 10:19 of the first.
BSU regained the lead 12:33 into the second
period when Tyler Lehrke rifled a shot to Pagliero's short
side, slipping the puck just under the Niagara goalie's
blocker after taking a pass from Matt Francis. Less than
four minutes later, Niagara tied the game at 2-2 on a goal
from Chris Moran that caromed off someone or something in
front of the net, then dribbled past Beaver goaltender Matt
Climie and across the goal line.
In the final minute of the period, just 10
seconds after BSU's Kyle Hardwick was called for interference,
Niagara won an offensive zone draw and Kyle Rogers blasted
a shot from the right point with Vince Rocco and Ted Cook
assisting to give the Purps their first lead of the game.
“We practice just getting pucks to the
net all the time and all five of us did our job there,”
said Rogers. “Matty [Caruana] won the draw back, we
passed around a little bit, and [Vince] Rocco found me high
There was no scoring in the third period,
but that didn’t mean it lacked for drama.
With Niagara playing a conservative style
and Bemidji State unable to generate many scoring chances,
the Beavers finally got a break with 6:55 remaining when
the Purple Eagles' Travis Anderson was whistled for interference.
Twenty-nine seconds later, teammate Brian Haczyk took a
minor penalty, setting up a Beaver 5-on-3 advantage for
BSU was only able to generate two shots on
goal during the power play, and right as the second penalty
was about to expire, Niagara’s Cook took off on a
breakaway and apparently scored. The red light was turned
on, but after a video review, the goal was disallowed.
“It was a goal,” said Cook. “I
don’t know what the ref was thinking and I don’t
know what CSTV was thinking, but it was in. They didn’t
call it, but we needed to get it back together and finish
the last four minutes and we came out of it.
“We had so much momentum off that 5-on-3
[kill]. The place was going nuts, we were getting pucks
out, and [Ryan] Annesley wins a faceoff. I’ve never
seen a defenseman win a faceoff in my life and it was like
somebody sent a bolt of energy through every guy on our
bench. That was the game; there is no doubt in my mind.”
“We are a relatively young team with
only three seniors and they seemed unfazed [by the 5-on-3
power play], but I was an absolute mess,” said Niagara
head coach Dave Burkholder. “I think it was just meant
to be. We just felt it was going to happen for us —
we felt that way all year.”
The Beavers pulled Climie for an extra attacker with one
minute left in regulation, but Niagara was able to hold
them off for the win and its third CHA championship.
“We didn’t convert, and we didn’t
generate much offense [on the 5-on-3],” said Bemidji
State head coach Tom Serratore. “That was a kick in
the teeth, but our guys showed resiliency and fought to
the end and that’s all you can ask. We played good;
I just don’t think we played good enough to win.”
“We talked about from our opening meeting
on the first day of classes and all year long being a championship
team,” said Burkholder. “Our team motto this
year is “One Team … One Chance … One Heartbeat”
and all year we told them to dream about what it will feel
like on Sunday at 4:30 celebrating on our home ice. You
are what you dream, I guess.”
SEEN AND HEARD AT DWYER ARENA
• The Beavers began the first period
outshooting the Purple Eagles, 7-1, over the first nine-plus
minutes, but were credited with just one more shot on goal
the remainder of the stanza.
• Each finalist had just one line-up
change from the semi-final line charts. Bemidji State dressed
freshman defenseman Dan MacIntyre in place of David Deterding,
who earned a game disqualification in Saturday's win against
Wayne State. Niagara dressed senior forward Taylor Simpson
at fourth-line left wing in place of Armando Scarlato.
• One Niagara female fan showed up at
the afternoon title game with her hair died purple.
• Additional NHL scouts seen during
the weekend included Andy Moog of Dallas and Dave McNab,
Anaheim assistant general manager and Friend of INCH
• They’re new at this: During
the first television timeout, the assistant referee dropped
the puck for a faceoff in the Bemidji State defensive zone
before the red light was switched off to signal the end
of the commercial. The reaction of the TV production crew
cannot be reported on a family-oriented website.
• The staff at Niagara University did
a wonderful job as hosts of the 2008 CHA tournament, drawing
great crowds for all four games and attending to many small
details, but the two-mile trip around potholes and asphalt
patching on Route 104 makes wooden roller coasters seem
like a kiddie ride.
Warren Kozireski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.