College Hockey:
Bemidji Bombs Niagara

— Bemidji State’s first line of forwards combined for 14 points, leading the Beavers to a dominating 8-3 victory over the Niagara Purple Eagles in BSU’s first home-ice College Hockey America contest of the season.

The first line of Brendan Cook, Andrew Murray and Luke Erickson scored five of BSU’s eight goals and each of the three players recorded three assists. The line was a combined +11 in the game, with Cook and Erickson at +4.

The trio scored nine points in the first period alone and had a hand in all four of Bemidji State’s goals as the Beavers set a program Division I era record for most goals in an opening period. Murray started the fireworks with the game’s first goal at 6:03 with help from Cook and put BSU ahead 2-1 at 10:28 with assists from both Cook and Erickson. Cook scored short-handed put BSU ahead 3-1 with helpers from Murray and Andrew Martens at 11:46, and Erickson and Cook assisted Ryan Huddy to put BSU ahead 4-1 at 17:20.

Niagara’s Ryan Gale scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season at 7:18 of the first, just 1:15 after Murray’s first goal, to tie the score at a goal apiece, but it was as close as the Purple Eagles would get in the contest. BSU’s four-goal first helped the team hold a three-goal lead in the first period of a game for just the seventh time in its Division I era.

Cook’s short-handed goal at 11:46 was his second of the season and CHA record eighth of his career. He finished the first period with a goal and three assists, becoming the first player in BSU’s Division I era to score four points in a period. His three first-period assists tied BSU’s Division I era, set by Riley Riddell in the second period against Union College on Nov. 2, 2001.

“Brendan’s short-handed goal was kind of the clincher,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “If [Niagara goaltender Allen Barton] stops that, they’re still on the power play and it could have been a different game.”

Barton was lifted after allowing Cook’s goal, saving 10 of 13 shots faced in just 11:46 of work. He was replaced by Scott Mollison, who played the final 48:14 in relief and allowed five goals and saved 16 shots. Mollison eventually was saddled with the loss, falling to 2-3-0 on the year.

Niagara’s Matt Caruana scored a beautiful unassisted short-handed goal to pull the Eagles within 4-2 at 3:37 of the second period, but BSU responded with three goals in a span of 4:08 to put the game out of reach, 7-2. Erickson scored his fifth goal of the season at 7:26 with assists from Murray and Nathan Schwartzbauer, and Huddy picked up his second goal of the night just 1:16 later with assists from Shane Holman and Rob Sirianni to put BSU ahead 6-2.

Cook capped the three-goal rally at 11:34, scoring his second goal of the game with helpers from Murray and Erickson.

The teams traded goals in the third, with Niagara’s Sean Bentivoglio scoring just 14 seconds into the period and BSU’s Garrett Roth picked up his second career goal at 6:59.

Layne Sedevie picked up the victory in goal for the Beavers and remained unbeaten (4-0-0) in four career starts against Niagara. He allowed three goals and saved 14 shots in a 60:00 complete game en route to his career-high seventh victory of the season. Sedevie has been simply dominant against College Hockey America opposition, posting a 10-1-1 record in 12 career starts against conference opponents.

Cook, Murray and Erickson each set respective career game scoring bests tonight. Cook’s five points and three assists were career highs; Murray’s five points are a career high with two goals and three assists each tying his career standard, and Erickson tied his career highs in both points (four) and assists (three). Murray has scored multiple points in four consecutive games, tying BSU’s Division I-era record, and Erickson is riding a nine-game scoring streak which also equals a BSU Division I-era record.

BSU improved to 9-11-4 all-time against Niagara with the win and has won each of the last four regular-season meetings between the programs – tied for the longest streak in the series by either team. BSU continued its home-ice dominance of the Purple Eagles, improving to 6-2-3 all-time. BSU has lost just once at home to Niagara in the last five years.

The victory improved Bemidji State to 8-5-0 on the season, 4-1-0 in CHA play, while Niagara falls to 6-10-0 and 1-4-0 in league play. The teams wrap up their two-game series tomorrow night with a 7:05 opening face off. With a victory, BSU can move into a tie atop the College Hockey America standings with Alabama-Huntsville.

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