This Week in the CHA: Feb. 7, 2008

It looks like the new arena to be built in Pittsburgh has the potential to showcase the Frozen Four five years from now.

Robert Morris University and VisitPittsburgh, with help from the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, are reportedly getting together a bid to play host to the 2013 event.

“It would be a great thing for everybody involved,” Colonials coach Derek Schooley said in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Pittsburgh is doing a great job with all the new facilities. It seems only natural to continue to put quality events in the new arena.”

The new building will be across the street from Mellon Arena and is scheduled to open for the 2010-2011 season. The Penguins are lobbying to the NHL to bring an All-Star Game or the draft to the venue after it opens, but the push for the Frozen Four is the first formal bid being assembled.

In March 2004, the Penguins invited Schooley and a handful of Robert Morris athletic administrators to a game at Mellon Arena.

“We started talking partnerships and hockey,” said Marty Galosi, Robert Morris associate athletic director for marketing and sales, in the Post-Gazette.

That led to the Colonials playing Notre Dame at Mellon Arena last season and Ohio State this season. Now it appears the Frozen Four may be next.

“Hockey fans are so into their niche, a lot of people come to this even if their team is not in it,” Galosi added. “The fans get fired up. We all feel strongly about our town. This will bring a lot of visitors.”

Frozen Four sites are already determined through 2012. Robert Morris, VisitPittsburgh and the Penguins will soon send letters to the NCAA, which officially will start soliciting bids in the fall of 2009. The bids are due in the spring of 2010, with a presentation to the NCAA scheduled for the summer of 2010.

“We’re still in the beginning stages,” Schooley concluded. “There’s a lot of work to be done just to get heard.”

Wayne State And Bemidji State Do Splits

Wayne State went to Bemidji State picked to split their series by this columnist and did just that.

The Warriors snapped a 10-game winless streak at Bemidji State with a 3-2 victory over the Beavers on Friday night.

Dylan Exton scored the game-winning goal in the third period to cap off a come-from-behind triumph for the Warriors, as they earned their first win in Bemidji since Feb. 23, 2002.

Seniors Stavros Paskaris and Derek Bachynski continued their torrid scoring pace with a goal and an assist apiece. The pair has a combined 22 points in the last six games. Sophomore Ryan Bernardi assisted on each of their goals for his third career multi-point game.

Cody Bostock and Matt Read scored 2:40 apart late in the opening period to give the Beavers a 2-0 lead, but that would be all the offense the home team could muster against WSU goaltender Brett Bothwell, who totaled 28 saves for his third straight win.

Matt Climie stopped 21 shots for BSU.

Saturday night, Wayne State had its modest three-game winning streak snapped after dropping a 4-3 decision in overtime.

Read scored the game-winner for the Beavers 2:57 into the extra frame, capping off a comeback which resulted in just the second loss in the Warriors’ last 16 games to reach overtime.

After a scoreless first period, Blaine Jarvis game BSU a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 7:27 of the middle stanza.

Freshmen Chris Kushneriuk and Jordan Inglis scored 59 seconds apart midway through the second period to put the Warriors ahead by one. Inglis netted his second straight tally at 1:55 in the third to make it a 3-1 game.

Power-play goals from Blaine Jarvis and Tyler Scofield, however, tied the score at three apiece before Read’s game-winning goal in overtime.

Graham McManamin assisted on the first and last goals for the Beavers.

Climie registered 18 for the Beavers and Bothwell turned aside 31 for Wayne State.

“When we popped that second goal, you could feel the energy change on our bench,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said in the Bemidji Pioneer. “We want (the CHA title) bad. Who doesn’t want to hang a banner in their barn? This was a good win and, hopefully, will bring us to another level.”

The victory bumps BSU’s all-time record versus WSU to 23-9-5, while the team is now 16-4-2 against the Warriors since Dec. 5, 2003.

Wayne State hosts Robert Morris this weekend back at the Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum for their second-to-last home series of the season and ever.

UAH Splits With Colonials in Pittsburgh

Alabama-Huntsville ventured to Robert Morris last weekend and each team came away with a victory.

Behind a third-period natural hat trick from Cale Tanaka, Alabama-Huntsville picked up its first CHA win and first road win with a 7-5 victory at Robert Morris Friday night.

After Robert Morris got a pair of goals in the first from Chris Margott and Chris Kaufman, the Chargers got tallies from Matt Sweazey and Andrew Coburn to send the game into the first intermission tied at two.

The Chargers and Colonials then traded goals in the second as David Boguslawski scored for RMU before Brennan Barker scored for UAH. Scott Kobialko then scored before the second period ended for a 4-3 RMU margin heading into the final break.

Robert Morris pushed it to a two-goal lead at 5:16 of the third on a goal from Kyle Burton before Tanaka went on his run. With UAH behind 5-3 and on the penalty kill, Tanaka scored an unassisted shorthanded tally at 9:31 of the final stanza and then scored again on the same penalty kill only 48 seconds later to tie the game at five.

The game remained tied until 19:20 when Tanaka finished off the first natural hat trick since Joel Bresciani accomplished the feat on Nov. 11, 2002.

Josh Murray added a late empty-netter for UAH, who also got three assists from Brandon Roshko. Tom Biondich had two helpers for RMU.

The Colonials got a 25-save outing from Christian Boucher, while Blake MacNicol picked up the win in net with a 30-save performance.

Saturday night, Margott recorded a hat trick of his own as the Colonials won, 5-2.

Sean Berkstresser and Brett Hopfe added singles for RMU. Boucher had an assist on Margott’s third goal and also finished with 34 saves.

CHA leading scorer Ryan Cruthers had three assists on the night.

Special teams proved to be the difference in the contest as Robert Morris was 3-for-7 with the man advantage, while UAH finished the night 1-for-9.

Coburn and Joe Federoff scored for UAH, who got 30 saves out of MacNicol.

NU Loses Lead, Ties St. Lawrence

Niagara blew an early two-goal lead and St. Lawrence came back and battled to a 4-4 tie at Dwyer Arena Saturday night in front of 1,780 fans, the third-largest Niagara hockey crowd in the program’s history.

Ted Cook scored the first hat trick of his career with his first goal coming less than a minute into the first period and his third coming late in the third period. Cook said the atmosphere was electric for the game.

“You always feed off a sold-out barn,” Cook said in the Niagara Gazette. “For warm-ups, we had almost 1,000 people out there, it was bobblehead night for ‘Gards’ (former goaltender and assistant coach Greg Gardner) and the student section was full. That’s probably the biggest thing for us.”

Kyle Rogers scored NU’s other goal and Juliano Pagliero stopped 36 shots.

“They (St. Lawrence) were a very good Division I opponent with tons of speed and skill,” said NU head coach Dave Burkholder. “This was one of the best games we played at Dwyer, ever, in 12 years.”

He Said It

“Sully (Dan Sullivan) has every superstition under the sun and it drives me nuts. He always has to tap the goalie’s pads, tape his stick a certain way, do certain things at pre-game skates, dress at certain times … he has so many superstitions that I don’t even know how he could tell which one makes a difference.

“Pags (Juliano Pagliero) won’t say a word to anyone all day, not until the puck drops. And once the game starts he won’t shut up, it’s nuts. Then during the game, he screams his head off, so much so I don’t even think I know what he is saying.”

— Niagara junior defenseman Travis Anderson on team superstitions, on

Purps, Beavers, Chargers Get Commitments

Niagara secured another recruit for the 2008-09 season in Indiana Ice defenseman Robert Martini, the 19th Ice player to have a D-I commitment for this fall or next.

Martini, who turned 19 last Dec. 1, has three goals, 12 points, a team-best plus-12 rating and 50 penalty minutes in 35 United States Hockey League games this year.

Martini’s teammate, Brandon Blandina, is a Robert Morris recruit for this fall as well.

Forward Jamie MacQueen will join Bemidji State after finishing up this season with the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Vaughan Vipers. He began the year with the Pickering Panthers, but was dealt to Vaughan on Dec. 21.

Between Pickering and Vaughan, MacQueen has 34 goals and 69 points in 44 games.

Alabama-Huntsville also got into the commitments by getting two forwards from the Alberta Junior Hockey League

Jamie Easton (Bonnyville Pontiacs) and Alex Allan (Olds Grizzlys) join defenseman Tom Durnie (Canmore Eagles) as AJHL recruits to commit to the Chargers for 2008-2009.

Ex-NU Defenseman Earns ECHL Honor

Mississippi Sea Wolves’ rookie defenseman Pat Oliveto (Niagara 2003-07) was a co-ECHL Plus Performer of the Month for January after finishing with a plus-minus rating of +12.

In his first full professional season, the 23-year-old Oliveto was plus or even in 12 of his 15 games during the month including a career-high +5 in an 8-5 win at Pensacola on Jan. 29. He leads the Sea Wolves and is tied for 15th among league defensemen with a plus-minus rating of +12. Oliveto leads Mississippi defensemen with six goals and his 12 assists and 18 points are third among the team’s defensemen.