COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — It doesn’t matter who Bemidji State’s goaltender is: Air Force can’t seem to get one past him.
Backup netminder Dannie Morgan stopped all 34 shots as the Beavers recorded consecutive shutouts for the first time in its Division I history with a 2-0 victory before 1,409 fans at the Cadet Ice Arena on Saturday.
Bemidji State, coached by Tom Serratore, won all four games this season against the Falcons, who are led by older brother Frank Serratore. The Beavers, unbeaten in its last five contests, complete the regular-season 12-13-8, 10-6-4 in conference action, and face Findlay on Thursday in the first round of the CHA playoffs.
Air Force, which has won just two of its last 19 games, drops to 10-23-3 and finishes league play with a 2-15-3 record. The Falcons tangle with Wayne State on Thursday in postseason action.
“Both goalies were good and lucky tonight,” said Frank Serratore. “But it’s frustrating to go through an entire weekend without scoring a goal.” Bemidji State took the lead 8:21 into the contest, capitalizing on a slow Falcons’ line change. Sophomore captain Bryce Methven received a pass from classmate Riley Riddell between the face-off circles and wristed a shot over the glove of Air Force goaltender David Goodley.
Senior Marty Goulet earned the second assist, making him the first player since Bemidji State moved to Division I to tally 100 career points.
Methven’s marker also marked the 10th consecutive contest that the Falcons have allowed the first goal.
“We’ve been going through this the entire second half of the season,” said Air Force senior Scott Zwiers who, along with five of his classmates, played their final career home game. “We’re hoping to get some bounces and they just aren’t coming.”
Air Force escaped the first period allowing just the one goal thanks to Goodley. The freshman, starting just the fourth game of his career, turned aside 13 shots in the frame, including a handful of high-quality attempts in the final six minutes of the stanza.
“That first period shot chart looks like they spilled a peppershaker in our zone,” said Frank Serratore. “It could have easily been 3-0.”
Morgan, also starting just the fourth game of his junior year, was even more impressive. Morgan also stopped 13 shots in the opening period, and all 10 Air Force attempts in the second frame to maintain the Beaver’s narrow lead.
The Falcons, meanwhile, were done in by their own mistakes. Three times in the first 40 minutes Air Force had a power play, and all three times the Falcons committed a penalty before the man-advantage expired.
Ironically, Air Force’s best chance to tie the contest came shorthanded less than eight minutes remaining in regulation. Spanky Leonard got behind the defense, but his breakaway shot nailed the right post.
The Falcons pulled Goodley, who finished with 28 saves, with 1:21 to go. However, Air Force could not get a shot on goal before Travis Barnes’ empty-netter sealed the victory.