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College Hockey:
Bemidji State One Step From Clinching CHA

Beavers Defeat Air Force

— The first career hat trick from sophomore Ryan Huddy highlighted a remarkable 12-point night from Bemidji State’s third line of forwards as the Beavers posted a 7-4 victory over the Air Force Falcons in College Hockey America play.

Huddy kicked off his career performance by scoring the game’s first goal at 8:49 of the first period. He scored again at 11:53 of the first to put BSU ahead 3-0, just 40 seconds after Myles Kuharski picked up his sixth goal of the season. Huddy completed his hat trick at 1:11 of the third period, with helpers from linemates Rob Sirianni and Riley Riddell.

Huddy assisted on BSU’s seventh goal of the contest, giving him a career-high 3-1–4 points in the contest. Huddy had scored just eight goals in 64 career games coming into tonight’s game and had never recorded a multi-goal game in a BSU uniform. His hat trick is the third for BSU this season; all three BSU hat tricks have come against CHA foes.

Huddy’s career night was just part of what was a simply dominant performance by Bemidji State’s third line. The trio, centered by Riddell, piled up four of BSU’s seven goals and had eight assists. The 12 points were most by a single line this season, and BSU’s entire team has scored more than 12 points in a game just four times this season. Huddy had been scoreless in BSU’s last six games.

Riddell finished with a career-high four assists, most by a BSU skater in more than three years. Jeff McGill had four assists against Wayne State on Nov. 25, 2000. He assisted on all three of Huddy’s goals and also helped on Sirianni’s third-period goal. The explosion helped Riddell improve his career total to 82 points; he is just the third player in BSU’s Division I era to top 80 career points. He had scored just two points in BSU’s previous six games.

Sirianni, playing on the second line tonight in place of the injured Wade Chiodo, responded with a career-best 1-3–4 points. Like Riddell, Sirianni assisted on all three Huddy goals and wrapped up the game’s scoring with his seventh goal of the season at 16:56 of the third. Sirianni’s three assists tonight were just one shy of his previous season total (4) in 23 games played. He ran his scoring streak to three games and has 2-4–6 points during the streak.

The first-period goals by Huddy and Kuharski helped BSU build a 3-0 lead just 11:53 into the game, which seemed to put the game well in hand for the visitors. But Air Force would not go away easily, and scored three of the game’s next seven goals to make the game interesting. Matt Bader scored even strength at 12:12 of the first and Spanky Leonard scored on a power play after BSU was called for too many on the ice to bring the game to 3-2. But Bryce Methven scored unassisted at 19:36 of the first on a one-timer to put BSU back up by two goals, and Air Force would get no closer.

Brendan Cook picked up his 21st goal of the season at 11:49 after an Air Force penalty to Andrew Ramsey for interference. It was his eighth power-play goal of the season, tying BSU’s Division I-era single-season record.

The teams netted two goals each in the third period, with Air Force goals from Shane Saum and Billy Devoney sandwiched in between Huddy’s third goal and Sirianni’s lamp-lighter to round out the game’s scoring.

The victory gave Serratore 43 for his coaching career at Bemidji State, moving him past Vic Weber for sole possession of second place on BSU’s career wins list.

Layne Sedevie allowed four goals, just the second time in his career he allowed more than three goals in a start, but with seven goals of support from the BSU offense picked up his sixth victory of the season. He was lifted in favor of Grady Hunt after allowing Devoney’s third-period goal; Hunt played the game’s final 14:10 and saved the only shot he faced.

Sedevie saved 21 of 25 shots faced to remain unbeaten in seven starts against CHA opposition this year. He improves to 6-4-3 overall.

Mike Polidor started for the Falcons and lasted just 11:53, allowing three goals on eight shots before being lifted for Peter Foster. Foster saved 16 of 20 shots faced in 48:07 of work and took the loss in relief. His season record dropped to 5-5-0.

BSU’s seven goals scored tied its season high set Nov. 28 at Connecticut and are tied for fourth-most goals in a game in BSU’s Division I era (since 1999). Conversely, Air Force had its best offensive showing against Bemidji State in more than three years. The four goals were most allowed by BSU against the Falcons since a 5-4 overtime loss on Jan. 12, 2001.

Tonight’s victory runs BSU’s unbeaten streak over Air Force to 10 games (9-0-1), its longest against any opponent since making the move to Division I in 1999. The Beavers improve to 14-5-2 all-time against the Falcons.

The victory improves Bemidji State to 17-11-3 overall, 14-2-1 in College Hockey America play, while Air Force falls to 12-19-2, 4-12-1 in CHA play. BSU’s lead over Niagara for first place in CHA grew to three points when Findlay defeated Niagara, 6-2, earlier. Bemidji State can clinch the 2004 College Hockey America regular-season championship with a victory over Air Force tomorrow and a Niagara loss at Findlay. BSU and Air Force wrap up their season series tomorrow night at Cadet Ice Arena. Opening face-off is slated for 7:05 p.m. Mountain time.

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