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College Hockey:
Sebastian Helps Niagara to Three-Point Weekend

Purple Eagles Tie Bemidji, 3-3

— It’s been a while since senior Chris Sebastian experienced the euphoria of scoring a goal.

The speedy Niagara winger enjoyed the feeling twice Saturday night at Dwyer Arena, but Bemidji State senior Marty Goulet denied Sebastian and the rest of his teammates the joy of sweeping a weekend series for the first time this season as the College Hockey America rivals skated to a 3-3 tie before 845 fans.

Goulet snapped a wrist shot over the glove of freshman Jeff VanNynatten from the slot with 1:32 left in the third period.

“Peter Jonsson just tipped it in to me and I took a one-timer, hit Andrew Murray right in the chest. He just dished it to me and I just snapped it in,” said Goulet, who also had an assist. “Down 3-1 heading into the third, we’ll take the tie anytime.”

Niagara ends the first semester with a 5-11-2 record. NU is third in the CHA with a 2-2-2 mark, good for six points.

Bemidji, which played its ninth overtime game, is 5-5-6 overall. The Beavers are 3-1-2 in the CHA, trailing first-place Alabama-Huntsville by a point.

Sebastian also assisted on freshman defenseman Andrew Lackner’s first goal. VanNynatten finished with 22 saves.

Brendan Cook and Jeff McGill also scored for Bemidji, while Murray had three assists and Goulet one. Grady Hunt made 24 saves.

Niagara captured three of four points from the Beavers, who are 0-8-1 lifetime at Dwyer Arena.

Sebastian set career highs for goals (11) and points (23) last year, doing most of his damage in the second half of the season.

Sebastian was expected to have an even better senior year. Instead, he has struggled to score, going 12 games without a goal. The last time Sebastian scored was in a 5-2 loss at Union on Oct. 18. That was his only goal of the season.

“Confidence makes or breaks a player,” Sebastian said. “I’ve been playing the last couple of years with a lot of confidence. This year, it kind of got away from me. I was kind of in the dumps a little bit. I didn’t really have much confidence in myself. I’m starting to get it back, making a little bit more plays and being more calm with the puck. Taking pressure off myself not to put too much pressure on myself. Just to relax on the ice and do my job.”

“He’s a pretty special player,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. “When he puts his mind to it, he’s one of the premier players not only in the CHA, but Division I.”

Sebastian snapped his drought at 1:28 of the first period when he one-timed a shot from the lower left circle though the pads of Hunt. Senior Bernie Sigrist made the pass to Sebastian from behind the net.

Sebastian scored again at 6:23 of the second period to give the Purple Eagles a 2-0 lead. He took a pass from junior Hannu Karru near center ice, drove down the right wing past the defense and cut in front of the net, slipping the puck between Hunt’s legs.

Burkholder put the Tough-Luck Trio line of Sebastian, Karru and Sigrist together this series with hopes that three of the program’s more productive players could get untracked. The line had seven points in the two-game series as the Beavers held NU’s top line of junior Joe Tallari, sophomore Barret Ehgoetz and freshman Jason Williamson to one goal.

“I saw 10 (Sebastian) zooming around the ice the whole game. Holy cripe, I’m glad he’s a senior, but then again I’m sure they’re glad 29 (Goulet) is a senior for us,” Bemidji coach Tom Serratore said. “He’s kind of been a Beaver killer in the past. He’s always been a really good player against us. You’ve got to respect Chris Sebastian and Bernie Sigrist. They’re veterans. They’ve been through a lot of wars. They’re a good hockey team.”

Tallari had two chances to win it for NU in the final minute of overtime. He one-timed a shot wide and his second shot from the slot was foiled by a clutch save by Hunt.

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