BEMIDJI, Minn. — Bemidji State kept pace with Wayne State, retaining a share of first place in College Hockey America with a 5-1 win over the Air Force Falcons Friday at John Glas Fieldhouse.
The teams played a fast-paced, hard-hitting game and kept the crowd of 1,110 in the game from start to finish. BSU drew first blood just 2:29 into the contest as Riley Riddell and Jared Hanowski found Wade Chiodo for his sixth goal of the season to put BSU up, 1-0.
The Beavers barely had time to celebrate their early lead, as Air Force knotted the score at a goal apiece just 1:13 later. Kyle Fransdal’s fifth goal of the season, with assists from Justin Hamilton and Ryan Wiggins, got the Falcons right back into the game.
From there, however, it was all BSU. The Beavers scored the game’s next four goals and limit the Falcons to just 20 shots for the game — including a dominant defensive effort in the third period in which BSU surrendered just three shots on net.
The teams took the 1-1 tie into the second period, but true freshman Andrew Murray picked up his 14th goal of the season and the eventual game-winner just 2:51 into the frame. Marty Goulet scored the first of his two goals on the night at 12:32 of the second to put BSU ahead 3-1, then scored again 5:05 into the third.
At 12:20 of the third, BSU’s Frank Udovich and Air Force’s Josh Priewe had words on the ice and had to be separated by the officials; both were sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. Immediately after both players were released from the box two minutes later, they stripped off helmets and gloves and fought at center ice for nearly a minute before the officials finally broke them up and sent them off the ice with five-minute fighting majors and game disqualifications.
Two minutes after the game resumed following the fight, Jared Hanowski iced the win for BSU with an unassisted goal, his fourth of the season, to put BSU ahead by the game’s final 5-1 margin.
“We played an outstanding game and put 60 minutes together,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “The power play was clicking and our five-on-five possession was outstanding. We played well defensively and hopefully we can carry this into tomorrow night.”
BSU goaltender Grady Hunt saved 19 of 20 shots to pick up his 11th victory of the year. He remains undefeated against College Hockey America foes at 8-0-2. In his last 14 starts against the CHA, dating back to last season, Hunt is 10-1-3. Mike Polidor started in net for Air Force; he saved 32 shots and fell to 9-12-0 on the year.
“It was a big win,” Goulet said. “We played well and felt like we dominated. We need to play hard again tomorrow and keep it going if we want to win the conference.”
Jeff McGill set a season high with three assists; Goulet tied his career high with two goals, and Murray tied his career high with two assists.
BSU improved to 7-5-1 all-time against Air Force with the win; the Beavers have won each of the last two games in the series. The five goals scored by BSU mark its highest single-game output since also scoring five goals in a 5-4 overtime win in the CHA Tournament on March 12, 2000. The win is also the second for BSU head coach Tom Serratore over his older brother, Frank Serratore, the head coach of the Falcons.
Bemidji State improved to 12-12-3 overall, its first time at .500 for the season since Dec. 1 when it stood 6-6-2, and remains tied for first place in College Hockey America with 20 points (8-2-2). Air Force dropped to 11-16-0 overall and 1-10-0 in CHA play. The Beavers and Falcons wrap up their two-game series tomorrow evening. Opening faceoff from John Glas Fieldhouse is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Central time.