This Week in the CHA: Feb. 18, 2010

It’s hard to believe that we’re in the final three weeks of the last-ever CHA regular season.

Like Metallica said long ago, you know it’s sad, but true.

All that’s pretty much left on the docket are conference games, including this weekend where Niagara heads to Bemidji State and with a single point, the Beavers will clinch the regular season title.

What’s awesome about the CHA this year is that even if Bemidji State somehow does not win the league tournament and earn the auto-bid to the NCAA field of 16, it may get an at-large bid and put two CHA teams in the national tourney.

Also this weekend, Robert Morris ventures to Alabama-Huntsville, where a gutless, senseless campus shooting spree took charge of the university last Friday.

Playing these games and getting back into the swing of things will be good for UAH — a sort of healing, if you will.

Sit back and buckle up. We should be in for an exciting next couple of weeks.

UAH Tops Niagara Friday Night

Before Saturday night’s game was postponed due to the tragic events at UAH, the Chargers beat Niagara, 3-2, last Friday night.

With the game tied at 2 early in the third period, the Chargers scored the winner when Justin Cseter curled into the slot and beat Purple Eagles netminder Adam Avramenko five-hole.

Cameron Talbot made 26 saves in Alabama-Huntsville's win at Niagara last Friday (photo: Doug Eagan).

Cameron Talbot made 26 saves in Alabama-Huntsville’s win at Niagara last Friday (photo: Doug Eagan).

“We stuck with it tonight,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. “They are a tough team to play against. The result tonight was disappointing.”

The Chargers bolted out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Chris Fairbanks and Cody Campbell, until Niagara finally got on the board halfway through the second period on a Tyler Gotto goal. Chris Moran tied it for Niagara and that set the stage for Cseter’s heroics.

Cameron Talbot took the win in goal with a 26-save outing, while Avramenko kicked out 20.

Earlier this week, NU announced that for just the second time in program history, the Purps will host three games in three days when they host Huntsville in a three-game series running from Friday, Feb. 26 through Sunday, Feb. 28.

Niagara will play at 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, before playing at 4 p.m. on Sunday, the rescheduled date from the postponed game from Feb. 13. The last time that the NU played three games in three days was Nov. 22-24, 1996, when it defeated two now-defunct schools in Findlay twice and Fairfield once by a combined total of 25-4.

Colonials, Beavers Do Splits In Steel City

Bemidji State traveled east last weekend to Robert Morris with the hopes of coming home with the regular season crown.

Instead, BSU settled for a split with the Colonials as each team won once by a 5-2 score.

Friday night, RMU won as Nathan Longpre scored twice to go along with singles from captain Dave Cowan, Ron Cramer and J.C. Velasquez.

Brooks Ostergard made 43 saves for the win and James Lyle and Denny Urban recorded two assists apiece.

“We’ve let too many teams back into games,” RMU coach Derek Schooley told USCHO after the game. “You don’t want to let teams just hang around and that’s what we talked about going into the third period. We were OK in the first, we needed to take care of the puck better and Brooks Ostergard was very good. We didn’t want to let them back into the game, but we did a good job extending the lead to 4-0 tonight.”

Tyler Lehrke and Jordan George tallied for BSU and Dan Bakala stopped 14 of 18 shots through 46:08, before Mathieu Dugas stopped all four rest of the way after Velasquez’s goal

“That first period was a toughy because we played very well,” BSU coach Tom Serratore said. “You’d like to get a goal in that first period after all of our hard work and quality scoring changes. Then we had a breakdown defensively and they got that 1-0 lead and we never really came back from that.”

Saturday night, the Beavers returned the favor as Lehrke exploded for two goals and two assists.

“Lehrks was a stud and he’s been a stud for us all year,” Serratore said. “I am proud of that line and I am proud of him. I can’t say enough about how he and Chris McKelvie have anchored that line this year. It is amazing how each year we have seniors step up for us.”

Ben Kinne, Ryan Cramer and Jamie MacQueen added goals for BSU, and Dugas finished with 26 saves.

Zach Hervato and Scott Kobialko scored for the Colonials, and Ostergard made 19 saves.

“It was a gutty win,” Serratore said. “We let them back in a little bit, but I thought we showed a lot of resiliency when it was 2-2 and we pushed through to get that third goal. I thought we were pretty good after that.”

“It was a great start for our team,” Schooley told USCHO. “We went after it and had a lot of energy, but they got that first goal from a turnover and went from there. It was a good hockey game, but it just got away from us.”

This weekend’s games at the Glas Fieldhouse are the Beavers’ last at the historic arena.

RMU Adds D-Man for ’10-11

Jimmy Geerin is the latest to commit to Robert Morris for next season.

Geerin, a 20-year-old defenseman from Anchorage playing in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Burnaby Express, has four goals (three on the power play) and 18 assists in 43 games this season.

Beavers Get Commitment from Shattuck Forward

Shattuck-St. Mary’s forward Brad Robbins has committed to Bemidji State for next season.

Robbins, not to be confused with the defenseman of the same name that played for Miami from 2004 to 2008, has 19 goals and 28 assists this season with the Sabres. He is known as a very good skater and for being a playmaker.


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