DETROIT — Wayne State needed a win and a Robert Morris loss to have a chance for third place in the CHA.
Neither happened Saturday night as WSU and Bemidji State played to a 1-1 tie in Detroit and Robert Morris tied on the road at Niagara, 3-3.
Bemidji State is now done with the regular season, save for an exhibition set next weekend in Ann Arbor against the U.S. National Under-18 Team while the Warriors head to Robert Morris.
At the Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum, a crowd of 603 made some noise as defense was ordered for both BSU and WSU and both teams’ defense corps came through.
“Wayne State is a very difficult team to play against,” noted Beavers’ head coach Tom Serratore. “We played desperate and when you play desperate hockey, you need to make sacrifices. We’ll take the tie, but it would have been nice to get the two points.”
“I thought it was a hard-fought game on both ends,” WSU head coach Bill Wilkinson said. “I thought both goalies played fantastic and Bemidji had a high intensity level. Obviously, we would have liked a win, but it was definitely a battle.”
Jeff Caister put Wayne State on the board late in the first period with a power-play goal at 19:04. Caister let loose a howitzer from the point that BSU goalie Matt Climie saw all the way, but the puck squeezed between his pads and barely over the goal line.
Brandon Marino answered at 11:54 of the middle period when he gathered a loose puck in a scrum in front of Warriors’ goalie Will Hooper and beat Hooper glove side.
Climie and Hooper matched each other save for save in the middle period with Hooper making a slick pad stop on Jake Bluhm six minutes in and Climie robbing Mark Nebus at 14:40 on a point-blank attempt.
Hooper also stoned Tyler Scofield late in overtime and forward Tylor Michel laid out to block a shot with a wide-open net seconds after to salvage the tie.
“Last night, we got a couple breaks, but tonight, we hit a few posts and maybe couldn’t capitalize on some scrums in tight,” said Wilkinson. “I thought the two games were mirror images of one another.”
Hooper finished with 27 saves and Climie turned aside 17 shots.
The Beavers, now tied with Niagara at the top of the CHA, can at best finish in a first-place tie with the Purple Eagles, but NU would take the tiebreaker based on most goals scored in the four games played against one another. Niagara is at Alabama-Huntsville next weekend.
WSU can finish no better than fourth place.
“We still have wins to play for,” concluded Wilkinson. “We have to improve every time out and next weekend, we’re going to have to play a good road series. It’s as simple as that.”