College Hockey America Tournament First Round
Blank Chargers, Earn Date With BSU
Bernardi, J. Caister
Meadows, J. Katz
Blake MacNicol (60:00, 25 svs, 4 GA)
Brett Bothwell (59:51, 21 svs, 0 GA)
AH 4/8; WS 7/22
Plays: AH 0-6; WS 1-4
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
"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].”
SEEN AND HEARD AT DWYER ARENA
• 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
• 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
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.