College Hockey America Tournament Semifinals
Season Continues, An Existence Ends
Wayne State 1
Peluso, G. McManamin
Read, T. Scofield
Scofield, T. Winter
Bernardi, J. Caister
Bostock, T. Winter
Brett Bothwell (59:50, 26 svs, 3 GA)
Matt Climie (59:55, 10 svs, 1 GA)
WS 12/24; BS 9/29
Plays: WS 1-9; BS 3-12
FALLS, N.Y. — One team is moving on to the College
Hockey America title game Sunday afternoon, and the other
Bemidji State jumped out to a 2-0 lead with
a pair of power-play goals in the first period, made it
3-0 before Wayne State could get on the scoreboard, and
skated to a 4-1 penalty-filled victory to advance to their
fifth championship game in the last six years and end the
nine-year Division I hockey program at the Detroit school.
Matt Pope began the scoring with a tip-in
goal off of Chris Peluso's slapper from the left point to
put the Beavers up 1-0 just 4:00 minutes into what became
a penalty-filled contest.
Cody Bostock made it 2-0 Beavers with another
power play marker at 16:26 from Matt Read and Tyler Scofield.
The first period ended with Bemidji holding
an 8-3 shots advantage and with a combined seven minors
called. Plus the Beavers blocked nine shots.
"Our defense did a great job of fronting
and blocking shots and made my job a lot easier," Bemidji
State senior goaltender Matt Climie said. "It was one
of those games that was tough to stay in there (mentally)
when I wasn't getting a lot of shots, but we did a lot of
the little things right. We just found a way to win today
and that's all that really matters."
Eight majors and one major with a game disqualification
to Bemidji State senior defenseman Dave Deterding meant
more time for both special teams units in the second period.
The Beavers took a 3-0 lead 5:19 into the
second when CHA Rookie of the Year Matt Read tapped the
puck into an open net with an assist from Travis Winter.
But Wayne State fought back with an extra-attacker
goal of their own. At 12: 13 freshman Chris Kushneriuk deflected
a shot from defenseman Ryan Bernardi into the net to close
the gap at the end of two periods.
The only offense of the third period came
on an empty-net goal by Tyler Scofield with 32 seconds remaining
to close out the 4-1 victory.
In total there were 21 penalties called for
a combined 53 minutes during the contest.
"This was a really odd game," said
Bemidji head coach Tom Serratore. "When you're playing
40 minutes of special teams hockey, you can't establish
any flow for both teams which I think is difficult.
"It wasn't easy for Wayne State to play
a 4-5 game last night and bounce back 15 hours later and
have to play again. I thought we played desperation hockey
early from the standpoint of making sure that shots we not
going to get through. They have a nice power play that we've
had trouble with all year and I think that (the blocked
shots) really helped. This game could have swung either
way many different times."
For Wayne State, the loss closes the final
chapter on their nine-year program.
"It's bad for hockey and I feel bad for
the kids and for Bill Wilkinson and his staff," said
Serratore. "He coached the right way and his kids played
the right way. Our hockey fraternity is not that big and
when you see a program like that play their last game, I
can tell you I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes
thinking about that."
"That group downstairs is the last of
the Mohicans," said Wayne state head coach Bill Wilkinson.
"I'm pretty proud of that team the way they handled
the whole year and the way they handled the adversity today.
We were pretty out-gunned and we were always behind the
eight ball especially going down 2-0 early.
"It's hard to fathom that this was the
last game that the Warriors will play. They were a first
class bunch of kids who represented Wayne State extremely
well on the ice and in the classroom as well. (After the
empty netter) I put five freshmen and Bothwell on the ice
and hopefully that was a sign that these kids had a terrific
year and those freshmen have an opportunity to go somewhere
else and play.
"It's not the end of their careers, but
certainly the end of the Warriors."
Robert Morris 3
Sullivan, P. Zanette
Kaufman, A. Bonello
Rocco, M. Caruana
Moran, B. Haczyk
Longpre, R. Cruthers
Zanette, C. Moran
Zanette, D. Ross
Rocco, S. Langdon
Christian Boucher (58:35, 22 svs, 5 GA)
Brett Bothwell (59:56, 34 svs, 3 GA)
RM 8/16; N 5/10
Plays: RM 1-4; N 1-7
THIRD-PERIOD SURGE SPARKS PURPS
The host Purple Eagles exploded for four third-period
goals, including two with the man-advantage, to defeat Robert
Morris 6-3 and earn a spot in the College Hockey America
title game Sunday afternoon.
After the first two shifts of the game, Robert
Morris found their game out-shooting the Purple Eagles 12-6
in the period and took a 1-0 lead on Chris Margott's 16th
goal of the season at 16:57.
Niagara tied the game at 1-1 early in the
second period when freshman David Ross tipped Dan Sullivan's
point blast past goaltender Christian Boucher at 5:36.
The Colonials again took a 2-1 lead at 16:59
when Margott got his second of the game with a wrist shot
after passes from Chris Kaufman and Andrew Bonello.
But just 43 seconds later, Niagara's sophomore
defenseman Sullivan snuck into the slot, took a pass from
Vince Rocco and roofed his shot to again tie the game 2-2.
"I just saw an opening and I didn't realize
how much time I had," said Sullivan. "There were
so many things going through my head at once so I just shot
the puck and good things happened. In practice I had been
getting my backhands off right away, but I just decided
to go to my forehand there."
Just 1:21 into the third period, Ted Cook
scored for the fifth consecutive game to give the Purps
a 3-2 lead, but Margott completed his hat trick at 7:39
to again tie the game for the Colonials.
The key turning point came halfway through
the final period. CHA Player of the Year Ryan Cruthers was
stopped point blank with a side-to-side save from Niagara
goaltender Juliano Pagliero with 8:02 left in the game.
Two minutes later, Egor Mironov put a weak
shot from the point through the legs of goaltender Christian
Boucher for what would prove to be the game- winner two
"Sometimes when you shoot the puck on
net, good things happen and I got a screen from their defenseman
and it went right through," said Mironov.
A little over two minutes later Mironov was
the recipient of some great corner work from linemates Paul
Zanette and David Ross and scored his second of the night
at 12:44. An empty-netter from captain Matt Caruana sealed
the game in the final minute.
"We knew we were playing well and we
had a positive attitude," said Mironov. "It came
down to momentum and we had it in the third period. The
last couple of games every single one of us is contributing.
The game is about mistakes and momentum so any chance we
have to get the momentum back; the guys are shutting down
their lines. On the last goal I was just there to receive
the present right on the doorstep."
"It was a very good hockey game back
and forth with the second place and third place teams punching
each other and they got the better punches," said Robert
Morris head coach Derek Schooley. "We out-shot them
every period, but the scary thing is that we out-shot and
outplayed them in the first period and only led 1-0."
The Purple Eagles advance to face top-seed
Bemidji State in the finals. It will be the third title
game meeting between the two with Niagara winning in overtime
in 2004 and the Beavers taking a 4-2 victory in Detroit
two seasons ago.
"It's nice to be back and play for a
championship at home and Bemidji from start to finish was
the best team in the CHA," said Niagara head coach
Dave Burkholder. "For us to have a crack at it is why
our guys showed up the first day of classes and punched
the time clock and nothing but blood, sweat and tears ever
since. I'm pretty proud of them.
"They (Bemidji) have a four or five hour
head start on getting ready, but it's all emotion. It's
playing for an NCAA bid, it's national television, it's
all of those things so I would think we will be fine as
Robert Morris had 12 seniors in the line-up
as they complete the final phase of their startup as a Division
I program four years ago and will need to re-load for next
season. Several transfers, including three — with
two defensemen — from now-defunct Wayne State will
help that transition.
"We feel the transfers coming in will
help and we hope we have a good freshman class, but we also
have a lot returning in Chris Margott, Jason Towsley, Nathan
Longpre, Denny Urban and Kyle Burton and Brandon Gay played
significant minutes. Our cupboard isn't bare, but we have
some work ahead of us."
SEEN AND HEARD AT DWYER ARENA
• In an interview with CHA Commissioner
R.H. Peters about the status of the league, he said, "We've
been working at this for more than a couple of years as
we lost Findlay and Air Force. We've talked with club teams
and we've talked with another conference about possible
assimilation. The first discussion on that didn't produce
any results, so we may be looking at that again. If that
doesn't materialize, we may have to decide what course we
will take: stay together or go independent. Our first choice
would be assimilation with the CHA in place and the AQ in
place. I'm sure we will talk in Denver (for the Frozen Four)
and in Florida (coaches and league meetings the week of
April 21). Coming out of Florida I'm sure we will have an
• One obvious Wayne State fan walked
into the afternoon game with a stuffed-animal beaver hanging
in effigy from a stick.
• Multiple scouts were in attendance
including Rick Dudley of the Chicago Blackhawks and Glenn
Patrick form Pittsburgh.
• Time for referee shields? For the
second game in a row during the tourney, there was a short
stoppage due to a referee getting clipped in the face and
• Robert Morris' Chris Margott registered
the fourth hat trick in Colonial history and the second
of his career. The other two were from Brett Hopfe and Kurt
• The Beavers will be without senior
defenseman and captain David Deterding for Sunday's title
game. He was called for a five minute major for hitting
from behind and a game disqualification midway through the
second period. "Our best defensive defenseman is out
tomorrow and we need to show a little resiliency,"
said Serratore. Look for freshman Dan MacIntyre to be his
replacement. He played 10 games during the regular season.
• Bemidji State head coach Serratore
had extra-long conversations with Wayne State seniors Stavros
Paskaris and Tyler Michel during the post game handshake.
"I just let them know that I had respect for them and
their program. They are good people, I like how they play
the game and I just them know that."
• Bemidji State is 2-2 all-time in CHA
title games with victories over Alabama-Huntsville in 2005
in Grand Rapids and over Niagara in 2006 in Detroit.
• Niagara is now 24-2-5 on home ice
over the last two seasons, but one of those two losses was
to Bemidji State this season.
• Beavers defenseman Cody Bostock has
scored seven goals this season and four of them have been
game-winners, including his tally on Saturday.
• The last man to leave the ice for
Wayne State was senior forward Stavros Paskaris.
Warren Kozireski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.