This Week in the CHA: Jan. 10, 2008

There is still hope in Bemidji.

All the Beavers need now is a rink.

Or so it seems.

Bemidji State president Jon Quistgaard will still go through with his presentation to the WCHA on Jan. 13 with hopes of being admitted to the conference, even though a couple snags have hit the proposal for the new arena in town.

Last Thursday, the Bemidji city council voted in favor of a $50 million events center, but that number does not include suites, something the school wanted the rink to include. The details of what actually will be included is not yet known.

This new proposed smaller arena might not be able to house team offices, a second ice pad or a weight room, or be used as a practice facility, but the design team may still be able to incorporate suites and seating for about 4,000 fans.

Quistgaard said that for BSU, the suites are a necessity.

“We’re going to have to figure out some solution that would include suites,” he said in the Bemidji Pioneer. “I think, obviously, I would have preferred they’d have taken a different path, but I understand they’re under a lot of pressure … I’m still trying to digest everything.”

Reportedly, costs have been estimated to be north of $100 million to build all the talked-about components, including a second sheet of ice and a practice facility, of the events center that would be on the south shore of Lake Bemidji.

As secondary options, Quistgaard didn’t say whether remodeling the John Glas Fieldhouse could happen or what the situation would be if a smaller rink isn’t up to WCHA standards.

This past Monday, representatives from the BSU hockey team, athletic department, BSU Foundation and university administration met for nine hours to look at all the options, including financial liabilities.

Another meeting was planned for early Thursday, but results of that were not known as of press time.

Quistgaard said after next Monday’s meeting with the WCHA he would be able to give a more definitive answer about the university’s intentions on the events center.

City and BSU reps had been meeting in negotiations to hammer out guidelines for a lease agreement and had developed a still-unsigned memorandum regarding the proposed lease agreement.

Quistgaard was denied his request for a time extension to commit to the project by the council. He has said he didn’t feel confident that he could totally commit to the project without having a solid home conference for the Beavers.

That being said, what does it mean for the CHA?

Next Monday may be another story, so stay tuned.

Warriors Spanked At Minnesota

Wayne State’s losing streak reached eight games last weekend as the Warriors were defeated in two straight games at then-No. 16 Minnesota.

WSU is now 1-11-2 on the road this year.

Friday night, Jared Katz scored WSU’s lone goal in a 5-1 loss. Netminder Kyle Funkenhauser totaled 36 saves over the first 50 minutes before giving way to fellow rookie Mike Devoney, who made 10 saves in his first action of the season.

Minnesota senior goaltender Brent Solei, a walk-on who had previously never appeared in a regular-season game, made 28 saves for the win in his debut.

Mike Forgie and Jordan Inglis scored Saturday night, but WSU suffered a 5-2 setback. Starting goaltender Brett Bothwell allowed four goals on 13 shots before being relieved midway through the second period by Devoney, who stopped 15 of the 16 shots he faced.

WSU wraps up its nine-game road trip this weekend at Northern Michigan before returning home next weekend to play Niagara Friday night at the Taylor SportsPlex and Saturday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills as the first half of a doubleheader with Michigan and Notre Dame.

Niagara Drops Pair To Cornell

Ending 2007 as one of a handful of teams with 10 wins, Niagara didn’t start 2008 adding to that total in getting swept at Cornell.

The Purple Eagles got skunked, 6-0, Friday night. Adam Avramenko, playing just over 44 minutes of the game, made 21 saves, while Juliano Pagliero entered for the remainder of the game and stopped a half-dozen shots.

Down by two goals early in the third period Saturday night, NU scored two goals in five minutes, including one power-play goal to tie the Big Red at three. But he Purple Eagles were unable to seal the deal and allowed the game-winning goal in the late stages of the third period by Justin Krueger.

“We played so well and so hard and carried the play,” Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have the result I thought we deserved. We were very physical and held up in every area of the game against a very good Cornell team.”

Kyle Rogers, Nate Bostic (playing in his first game this season) and Dan Sullivan recorded goals for NU and Pagliero kicked out 24 shots in defeat.

This weekend should yield above-average action as Niagara hosts Robert Morris.

“Niagara is a good hockey team that plays extremely physical and has some very good offensive talent,” Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley said. “They are very deep up front, have a solid back end and excellent goaltending. Pagliero was very good against us earlier in the year at home.

“As always, this should be an intense exciting weekend of hockey.”

Beavers Split Duluth Home-and-Home

Each team won its home game in last weekend’s home-and-home series between Bemidji State and Minnesota-Duluth.

The Bulldogs used two third-period goals Friday night to upend the Beavers, 5-3. BSU rebounded for a 2-0 shutout at home Saturday night.

Bemidji State goaltender Matt Dalton’s third career outing will be one that he will remember, as he made 25 saves in Saturday’s win. The shutout was the first of his collegiate career and doubled as his first NCAA victory in front of 1,332 fans at the Glas Fieldhouse.

With the split, the Beavers retain ownership rights to the “Blue Ox” traveling trophy for the third consecutive season.

Blaine Jarvis and Emil Billberg scored for BSU Saturday night. For Billberg, it was his first collegiate goal and second point of the weekend as he tallied an assist for his first collegiate point in Friday’s loss.

“That was a real nice way to get my first college goal,” Billberg said in the Pioneer. “(Tyler) Lehrke hit me with a perfect pass and it was a wide open net.”

Friday night, despite scoring first, netting a pair of power-play goals and keeping pace with the Bulldogs through two periods of play, the Beavers ran out of gas down the stretch and came up short in the series for the first time in five meetings.

Graham McManamin scored his first NCAA goal in defeat. Jarvis and Matt Francis also scored. Matt Climie made 25 saves for the Beavers, who lost to UMD for the first time since Feb. 6, 2005.

“We won this game the right way — with hard work and determination,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore also said to the Pioneer. “It was an effort-based win. In the third period, we made plays, but were also difficult to play against.”

RMU Sweeps ‘Jackets On The Road

Outscoring an opponent by a 16-5 mark in two games generally means a series sweep and that’s exactly what Robert Morris did at American International last Friday and Saturday.

Led by a pair of two-goal performances by freshmen Denny Urban and Scott Kobialko, Robert Morris scored 10 goals en route to downing American International, 10-2, Friday night.

The Colonials set a boatload of team records against the Yellow Jackets, including most goals scored in a game and in a period with five during the second frame. RMU also set new game highs for assists (18) and points (28).

In a game that saw eight different Colonials score, RMU scored the game’s first eight goals, keeping the Yellow Jackets off the board until the third period.

Kobialko, David Boguslawski and Jason Towsley put RMU up 3-0 in the first period and goalie Christian Boucher picked up his second career assist on Towsley’s goal.

Robert Morris scored five goals in the second period, taking an 8-0 lead into the second intermission, from Urban (with two), Kyle Burton, Kobialko and Tom Biondich.

Ryan Cruthers and Brett Hopfe capped off the game’s scoring in the third period.

Nine Colonials finished with two or more points, including Cruthers, Jeff Gilbert, Kyle Frieday, Nathan Longpre and Chris Margott all with two assists and Hopfe, Towsley and Boguslawski with one goal and one assist.

Cruthers (tied for seventh with 13 goals and 26 points) and Margott (tied for 14th with a 5-18-23 line) are both among the nation’s top scorers. Cruthers is also tied for seventh with his 13 goals and Margott is third nationally in the assists department.

Boucher stopped all 22 shots he faced through two periods. Jim Patterson allowed two goals in the third period, but still made 15 saves.

With a 6-3 win Saturday, RMU’s offense continued to click as the Colonials have now scored 27 goals in their past four games.

“Any time you score 16 goals on the weekend and get two victories on the road against any team, you have to be happy,” Schooley said. “We got a lot of scoring from some people who have not scored in a while as well as contributions from players who have been scoring regularly. It was a good first weekend back from Christmas break.”

Chris Kaufman and Cruthers scored twice and Biondich and Sean Berkstresser added singles for RMU.

Boucher made 25 saves in the win.