COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Todd Knott snapped a 2-2 draw with just 27 seconds to play in regulation, and Wade Chiodo iced the win with his first career empty-net goal 20 seconds later as Bemidji State defeated Air Force, 4-2, in a four-point College Hockey America game tonight at the Cadet Ice Arena. The four-point win improves the Beavers to 14 points in CHA play, moving them into a first-place tie with the Wayne State Warriors in the league standings. BSU has not been in first place in the CHA since Nov. 4, 1999.
Derek Olson drew first blood for the Falcons, netting his 14th goal of the season at the 8:11 mark of the first period. Setting the tone for the evening’s back-and-forth affair, however, Says Phrakonkham evened the score at a goal apiece with his first tally of the season at the 14:20 mark of the second period. It marked Phrakonkham’s first goal since Oct. 27, 2000, against Alabama-Huntsville, a span of 51 games.
The Beavers then grabbed their first lead of the night on Andrew Murray’s 10th score of the season, an even-strength goal at the 17:12 mark of the second. Murray, one of the nation’s leading rookie scorers, snapped a personal five-game scoreless streak.
BSU took its 2-1 lead into the third period and would make it stand, despite allowing the Falcons to even the score at two just 2:06 into the frame. Shane Saum picked up his ninth goal of the year, with a helper from Olson, to pull the Falcons even.
An unlikely hero for BSU then stepped forward in the form of Knott. Knott, who had been on an eight-game streak without a goal, hammered home the game winner with just 33 seconds to play in regulation. The Falcons then pulled goaltender Mike Polidor in favor of an extra attacker, but Chiodo made the Cadets pay for that move with an empty-net goal with three seconds to play. It marked the fifth goal of Chiodo’s rookie campaign and his first career empty-net tally.
Hunt, the defending CHA Defensive Player of the Week, remained undefeated against CHA opposition, improving to 5-0-2 against league foes. He saved 29 shots in the win, including all 13 shots he faced in the pivotal third period as BSU rallied for the win. Hunt, 2-1-1 in his last four starts and now 7-7-2 for the year, is 7-1-2 in his last 10 starts against league foes.
Polidor took the loss for the Falcons, falling to 9-8-0 overall and 1-6-0 in CHA play. He saved 17 shots in 59:33 of work.
Saturday night was BSU’s first win over Air Force in a four-point CHA game; the Beavers had dropped their previous two four-point games with the Falcons. Air Force falls to 4-2 all-time in four-point affairs; it has one four-point game remaining this season, that coming next Sunday against Niagara. The win also snaps BSU’s seven-game winless streak in games played on Saturday this year; it is BSU’s first Saturday win since a 2-0 win over Connecticut on Oct. 27.
Bemidji State improved to 8-11-3 overall, 5-2-2 in College Hockey America, while Air Force fell to 10-11-0 overall, 1-8-0 against CHA foes.