LEWISTON, N.Y. — Bemidji State is just 60 minutes from its third College Hockey America Tournament title and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. With a 4-1 victory over the No. 4 seed Wayne State Saturday afternoon, the top-seeded Beavers advance to the 2008 CHA Championship game for the fourth time in five years.
Tyler Scofield led the Beavers with a goal and two assists while Matt Read and blue liner Cody Bostock each posted a goal and an assist.
The game described by both BSU head coach Tom Serratore and senior goaltender Matt Climie as “weird”, a total of 21 penalties were called for 54 minutes. The Beavers were whistled for nine, including a five-minute major and game disqualification, while WSU was sent to the box 12 times.
“When you are playing 40-minutes of special-team hockey, you can’t establish any flow,” commented Serratore of a team that spent eight of the first 20 minutes a man short during the first frame.
“At that particular point in the game, I really think we played desperation hockey from the standpoint that we made sure shots were not going to get through.” Serratore added, “They have a nice power-play. We have had a lot of trouble with their power-play all year and I think that really helped us. Then when we got our opportunity on the power-play we got that first goal which was important.”
Climie, who made 10 saves in the win to move to 14-7-3 on the year and extend his BSU Division I-era record for career goaltending wins to 45, attributed a lot of his success to his teammates.
“There were a lot of power-plays in the game and the guys did a great job of fronting and blocking shots and that made my job a lot easier.”
Special teams were a difference for the Beavers a first frame that propelled BSU to the win. A total of seven penalties were served by the teams with BSU getting whistled for four. The Beaver were 2-for-3 on just three shots on the power-play, while the team’s penalty kill was a perfect 4-for-4.
Matt Pope got the Beavers on the board four minutes in when he tipped a Chris Peluso slapshot past the WSU goaltender on BSU’s first power-play chance of the game. Graham McManamin was also credited with an assist on the play.
BSU’s second goal of the tournament came 12:26 later on the team second opportunity on the man advantage. Scofield and Read cycled the puck around to Cody Bostock who fired a bullet that found the back of the net from the top of the right face-off circle. His seventh goal would stand as the eventual game-winner marking the team-best fourth time this season Bostock has potted the game winner.
The teams would skate off the ice after 20 minutes with BSU holding a 2-0 advantage.
The Beavers pushed their lead to 3-0, 3:19 into second period when Read notched his ninth goal of the season on an assists from Travis Winter. and Scofield. Each collecting their second point of the game on the play, the duo of Read and Scofield pushed their team-leading multi-point games totals to seven.
Nine minutes into the stanza, BSU captain David Deterding was called for hitting from behind, sending him to the locker room early and will hold him out of tomorrow’s final while it put the Beavers down a man for five minutes. The Warriors would seize the moment scoring a power-play goal three minutes into the opportunity. Chris Kusheriuk netted the Warriors only goal of the game with help from Ryan Bernardi and Jeff Caster.
The extra shifts skated by both teams on the penalty-kill was evident in the third period. BSU managed just seven shots on net while WSU collected three and didn’t register their first shot on goal until the 13th minute.
The score remained 3-1 until Scofield put the puck in an empty Wayne State goal with 32 seconds to play.
The loss marked an end of an era in the CHA as well as all of college hockey. BSU knocking the Warriors out of the single-elimination tournament ended their season and marks the last time the Warriors will take the ice. Wayne State announced they it would dissolve its program at the end of the 2007-08 campaign and that end came today.
“Its bad for the CHA, it’s bad for college hockey and its bad for these players,” said Serratore after the game. “This college hockey fraternity isn’t that big. I had a lump in my throat just thinking about that walking through the line.”
The Beavers (17-15-3) now move on the CHA Tournament championship game for the fourth time in five years. The team will face No. 2 Niagara at Dwyer Arena in Lewiston, N.Y.