March 14, 2008
College Hockey America Tournament First Round
Warriors Blank Chargers, Earn Date With BSU

Wayne State 4,
Alabama-Huntsville 0
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-WS Brock Meadows (4) EA
11:40 M. Forgie

Second Period

2-WS Stavros Paskaris (14) PP
8:47 R. Bernardi, J. Caister
3-WS Mike Forgie (9) EV
14:22 B. Meadows, J. Katz
Third Period
4-WS Dylan Exton (3) EV
4:34 C. Kushneriuk
AH: Blake MacNicol (60:00, 25 svs, 4 GA)
WS: Brett Bothwell (59:51, 21 svs, 0 GA)
Penalties: AH 4/8; WS 7/22
Power Plays: AH 0-6; WS 1-4

By Warren Kozireski

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Wayne State lived for another day with a 4-0 victory over Alabama-Huntsville in the CHA first-round game at Niagara’s Dwyer Arena Friday. The win sets up a Saturday afternoon semifinal battle between the Warriors and top-seed Bemidji State.

“We are here to play three games, so we have intentions of going to the end,” said senior captain Mike Forgie. “Everybody knows it’s the last hurrah for Wayne State and we’d like to go out on top. For the seniors, it would be a nice cap-off to our career here.

"Last year Alabama-Huntsville was the fifth seed and they won, so we’re going to go and give it our all.”

Just two minutes after the Warriors killed off a Charger five-on-three power play, freshman defenseman Brock Meadows scored the lone goal of the first period en route to his third two-point game of the season. The tally at the 11:40 mark was scored as the Chargers were being called for a delayed minor penalty.

“That was a big goal, but I think the biggest part of the first period was killing off the five-on-three,” said Wayne State head coach Bill Wilkinson. "If they had scored on that, it could have been a little bit different game. But [goaltender Brett] Bothwell was strong when we needed him to be, and our penalty killers did a good job in front of him.”

“I was struggling a little bit in the first and they were getting pucks by me,“ said Bothwell, who stopped all 21 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season, both of which came against Alabama-Huntsville. “I got lucky when they hit a post and my d-man [Matt Krug] bailed me out, and then another hit me when I slid over and got a whistle.”

The Warriors made it 3-0 in the second period on goals by senior forward Stavros Paskaris — who extended his point streak to a school-record nine games with a goal following a scrum around the Chargers net at 8:47 — and another from Forgie at 14:22.

In the third period, Wayne State's all-freshman third line got in on the act. Dylan Exton scored his third goal of the season at 4:34 from Chris Kushneriuk, who was credited with his first assist of the season.

“Wayne State forced the play and I didn’t think we competed as hard as we have to to have a chance to win," said Alabama-Huntsville head coach Danton Cole. “A team in our situation with pretty much one senior, we need to keep the longer view and I think we’ve done that all year. I just wish — win, lose or draw — that we had a little more fire.”

Wayne State faced Bemidji State six times during the regular season as part of the CHA's unbalanced schedule. The Warriors split with the Beavers in Detroit in November and in Bemidji in February. The teams' last met two weeks ago, with BSU sweeping in a series that featured a combined 20 goals.

“I think we’ve played [Bemidji State] pretty well,” said Wilkinson. “They play a similar style [to what] we do — they like to cycle the puck, play physical, get their defensemen involved in the offense, and they’ve had good goaltending and good special teams. We expended a lot of energy tonight, so we may need to use more lines since we mainly went with three lines and six [defensemen].”


• During a Thursday radio interview on WHAM-AM in Rochester, N.Y. prior to the start of the Atlantic Hockey tournament, league commissioner Bob DeGregorio was asked by the show host how many teams were in the league. "Ten, right now," DeGregorio replied.

• Friday's game was delayed with about 4:30 remaining in the first period when referee Tim Kotyra was cut in the face and needed attention from the medical staff. He was hit by pucks at least two other times during the game.

• With the loss to Wayne State, the Chargers extended their record on the season to 0-19-2 when scoring fewer than three goals.

• Wayne State has scored the game's first goal in just eight of 37 games this season. The Warriors are 7-1 when scoring first.

• Alabama-Huntsville dressed seven freshmen for their first playoff game, while Wayne State suited up eight first-year skaters.

• Wayne State has played quick-turnaround second games twice this season. The Warriors skated to a 2-2 tie in a 5:05 p.m. start at Ferris State in October, and dropped a 5-2 decision to Alabama-Huntsville in a February game that started at 2:05 p.m.

• The Niagara athletic department added several nice touches to the rink, including having “Wayne” and “UAH” posted on both arena scoreboards instead of the normal “home” and “away.” Contrary to rumor, however, the cover photo of the tournament program does not show someone going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

• The Chargers checked out of their hotel and began the 13-hour bus ride back to Huntsville immediately following the game.

Warren Kozireski can be reached at