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College Hockey:
Bemidji State Left to Wait for NCAA Fate

— In the postseason, things don’t always turn out the way they are supposed to.

Bemidji State is the latest classic example of this.

The Beavers came into the final CHA tournament riding high as the eighth-ranked team in the nation — and deservedly so. They dominated and bullied the rest of the CHA and were one of the top teams in the country.

Until this weekend.

With somewhat of a surprising loss to Niagara and a tie with Robert Morris in Dwyer Arena, it could be a whole new ballgame for the Beavers in regards to the NCAA tournament. The Beavers finished a strong 23-9-4, which is the good news. This just in — obviously they have an exceedingly good club.

The bad news — they were a pedestrian 1-2-2 in their last five games. Three days ago many considered them a shoo-in for the NCAA’s, but not now.

Throw in the fact that the PairWise Rankings will have a say, combined with potential upsets in league tournaments, nothing can be taken for granted.

“I don’t know,” Bemidji coach Tom Serratore said when asked if his club was safely in the NCAAs. “We have talked about it and talked about it. With the PairWise, it is very volatile. I don’t know. Right now we are taking the approach that we are in. That’s what we have to do.

“I just told the guys we are going to come back on Thursday and get ready for a regional. It is the mind-set we have and the approach we have to take.”

The Beavers came in ranked high nationally and could drop a notch after this weekend. But in their favor — and the NCAA committee will look at this — is the fact Bemidji was highly ranked all season, back when there were still leaves in the trees.

“I hope they get in,” Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley said. “They are a good hockey team. It would be great, if in the last year of the CHA, two teams got in.”

So for now, all the Beavers can do is rest up from this arduous weekend, then wait and hope.

“I think we are safe, but again, there are so many other games that have to be played … not only tonight and tomorrow but next week,” Serratore said. “It is going to have a lot of say about who is going to be in. We have to just watch and just wait. Hopefully, we are high enough. We feel good about it.”

Bemidji senior captain Chris McKelvie said his club deserves to be in — unequivocally.

“Definitely,” he said. “If you look at our record, it is right up there were the best ones in the country. Our win total is really high. We have been a very consistent team all year. So, I think that is good for us.”


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