Andy Williams was off by about two months when he said, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
The middle of February always gets both casual and diehard college hockey observers in the mood to figure out the standings and probable playoff matchups.
Even in the four-team CHA, this happens.
Bemidji State and Niagara both swept their series last weekend to solidify their stance as the class of the league. The Beavers are three points up on NU, but the Purple Eagles have two games in hand that could prove to be large in the next couple weeks.
Alabama-Huntsville and Robert Morris sit at the bottom of the CHA standings, but in a three-game playoff tournament, two wins and one of these teams could go to the dance.
The same holds true for the Beavers and Niagara.
Alas, that’s why they play the games on the ice each week and not in this column every week.
And that’s also why Andy Williams gets airtime around these parts.
Purple Eagles Sweep Robert Morris
Niagara continued its roll last weekend with a sweep of visiting Robert Morris and is now 5-1-1 in its last seven games.
Three unanswered goals helped the Purple Eagles take a 4-2 win Friday night and then Egor Mironov’s four-point night was the highlight in a 6-3 win the following evening.
NU captain Vince Rocco, Bryan Haczyk, Mironov and Chris Moran scored Friday night to back Juliano Pagliero’s 43-save outing.
Freshman Dan Baco tacked on three assists and Moran added two helpers.
“We needed to play well and outwork them in the third period,” Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder said. “I think we outplayed them in the third, especially in the last 10 minutes of the game.”
Chris Margott scored both RMU goals, Nathan Longpre assisted on both and Brooks Ostergard finished with 27 saves. The Colonials’ 45 shots were a season high.
“We played hard and we bounced back from a rough (last) weekend,” said head coach Derek Schooley. “At the end of the day, they were more opportunistic around the net and Pagliero was excellent. That was the difference.”
Mironov then rattled off two goals and two assists Saturday night. He now has eight points in his last three games and points in eight of his last nine games.
“Egor is on one of those streaks that you hope doesn’t end,” said Burkholder. “Our upperclassmen are contributing and we will ride that hot streak.”
Ted Cook, Rocco, Sam Goodwin and Moran also scored for the Purps with Rocco and Dan Sullivan also throwing in a pair of assists.
Pagliero kicked aside 29 shots for the win.
Kyle Burton, Scott Kobialko and Chris Kushneriuk tallied and Wes Russell made 29 stops.
BSU Gets All Four From Chargers
Winning streaks mean everything down the home stretch and Bemidji State has now won five in a row after taking out Alabama-Huntsville in two straight in Bemidji.
The Beavers topped the Chargers by scores of 2-0 and 4-2 last weekend.
Freshman defenseman Brad Hunt netted two goals to provide BSU with all the offense it would need Friday night and goaltender Matt Dalton stopped all 22 shots fired his way.
Cameron Talbot made 29 saves for UAH.
Saturday night, Tyler Scofield and Ben Kinne each potted two goals to pace the Bemidji State attack and Dalton was again stellar in making 17 saves.
Hunt and Matt Francis added two assists apiece for BSU.
Andrew Coburn and Matt Sweazey scored for Alabama-Huntsville, while Talbot and Blake MacNicol combined for 27 saves. MacNicol started and allowed three goals on 14 shots through 13:10 of the first period.
With the win, BSU is now back at .500 with an overall record of 13-13-0.
“Hey, it was a win and we’ll definitely take it,” Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore said in the Bemidji Pioneer. “It’s nice to get back to .500. I’m very proud of the way the guys have responded the last few weeks to get where we are now.”