HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Despite a power play opportunity for each team in overtime, neither Bemidji State nor Alabama-Huntsville could score a fourth goal to pick up a win in front of 1,487 at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.
“Obviously, you want a sweep, and when you get a power play in overtime, you think you’d be able to get something done, but to come down here and get three points, you’re always happy about that,” commented Beavers’ coach Tom Serratore after his team took over the lead in the CHA standings pending, Saturday night’s tilt between Niagara and Robert Morris. “If you can go on the road and not lose, you’re going to walk out of there with a smile on your face.
Bemidji skated out to an early lead with a power play tally off the stick of Chris Peluso with 6:26 gone in the first. The Chargers answered later in the period with two goals on one power-play opportunity, as Matt Francis and Travis Winter went off the ice 1:22 apart to give the home team a two-man advantage. Joe Federoff tied the game at one by banging home a rebound of a Scott Kalinchuk slap shot past Beavers’ netminder Matt Climie 21 seconds into the two-man advantage. Matt Sweazey then netted the first of his two goals on the night with 10 seconds left in the advantage, pushing a rebound off a Brennan Barker shot past Climie.
“It’s just nice to get some goals,” Sweazey remarked. “The pucks were going in for us tonight. I don’t think we were doing anything different out there. We were just getting some bounces.”
Chargers’ coach Danton Cole liked what he saw on the power play. “We weren’t static. Tommy Train skated around and made them commit, and good puck movement allowed us to get some goals. We threw the puck on the net and didn’t waste any time, and lo and behold, it finds a guy’s stick.”
Winter atoned for his earlier sin 7:02 into the second, scoring just as a Chargers’ penalty came off the board by banging home a loose puck. The Chargers didn’t help themselves when Brandon Roshko took a penalty during the celebration of Winter’s goal. Despite being down a man, the Chargers were able to get a rush after a solid outlet from Davide Nicoletti found a flying Kevin Morrison, who fed Sweazey for the shorthanded goal.
“I was happy that we got some power-play goals off our sticks, and the short-hander was nice, too,” Cole remarked. “From the beginning of the game to the end, there wasn’t a drop-off in effort. Whether we were up one or down one, it didn’t affect our effort.”
Chris McKelvie scored the game-tying goal at 15:47 of the second as he and teammate Tyler Lehrke solved the Chargers’ defense to knot the game at three.
“That’s a pretty good team over there,” Cole said of Bemidji State. “They have a very good concept of what they want to do on the ice.”
Bemidji State continues their CHA road show with their final trip to Wayne State University next weekend, while the Chargers take a week off before traveling to Notre Dame to reprise their NCAA tournament matchup from last season.