COLERAINE, Minn. — Bemidji State scored two goals in the first period and two in the second for a 5-1 win over Air Force in a College Hockey America game at the Hodgins-Berardo Arena in Coleraine, Minn., hometown of the two head coaches, AFA’s Frank Serratore and his younger brother Tom of Bemidji State.
Bemidji State improved to 10-6-2 overall and 7-1 in the CHA. Air Force fell to 7-11-2 overall and 1-6-1. The two brothers have now faced each other nine times and Tom has an 8-0-1 advantage over his older brother.
A strong first period led the Beavers to a 2-0 lead in the first period. BSU forward Jean-Guy Gervais scored 54 seconds into the game on passes from Ryan Miller and Andrew Martens.
The Beavers took a two-goal lead at the 6:16 mark as Myles Kuharski scored a power-play goal from Bryce Methven and Peter Jonsson. Methven made a pass through the neutral zone to a wide-open Kuharski, who skated in uncontested on Mike Polidor.
The Beavers scored two more goals in the second period. Lou Garritan scored at 7:26 from Brendan Cook, and after a penalty on Shane Saum, the Beavers scored on the power play as Peter Jonssen tallied at 15:53. Ryan Huddy and Riley worked a give-and-go play and Jonsson cleaned up the rebound.
The Falcons got on the board in the third period with some intense, solid play. Freshman Brandon Merkosky made the score 4-1 with his fourth goal of the season. He cleaned up a flurry that was assisted by Theo Zacour and Andrew Ramsey. BSU added a goal with 18 seconds remaining as Jared Hanowski scored from the slot.
BSU outshot AFA in two of the three periods and 24-20 in the game. The Beavers were 2-for-4 on the power play while AFA was 0-for-6.
BSU goalie Grady Hunt made 19 saves to lead the Beavers to their sixth win the last seven games. Air Force senior Polidor started and made 13 saves in 30 minutes. Freshman Peter Foster played the final 30 minutes and made six saves.
“They are very good, fast and deep team,” Frank Serratore said. “We’ve had some injuries on our defense and that hurt us tonight. Three of their goals were direct results of turnovers. They are an opportunistic team and they capitalized on our mistakes. I told the team between the second and third periods, that this was a defining moment for us.
“We needed to play harder and win a period. I thought we played very good in the third period and we took the play to them. I hated to see them score that goal at the end because we played so well in the period. Their goaltender, Grady Hunt, is very, very good. He stopped some pucks that I know he didn’t even see. I don’t think we will see a better team the rest of the season.”