Cinderella Rolls On; Bemidji State in Frozen Four
An Afterthought Coming Into the Tournament, the Beavers Are Off To Washington
by Jared Shafran/CHN Reporter
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. On Saturday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the No. 4 seed Bemidji State Beavers — the last seed in this year's tournament, and ranked No. 36 in KRACH coming into the weekend — shocked powerhouse Notre Dame, defeating it handily for the program's first NCAA win in Division I.
There was only one way they could top the previous night's performance. And what an encore it was.
After going down 1-0 in the second period, the Beavers scored four straight goals en route to knocking off Cornell and moving on to the Frozen Four.
For a program that is in the CHA, a conference that will disband at the end of the season, leaving Bemidji State's very future in jeopardy, this win showed everyone in college hockey that anything is possible.
Though the program has had success in the past, the enormity of this upset is history in the making.
“I think this win is great for college hockey,” said Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore. “This is what college hockey is about and this is what sports is about. I think this is great for the game. It gives everybody out there a good feel that it could be their day.”
Once it got the lead, BSU knew how to hold onto it in both games of the tournament. This season, the Beavers are undefeated when leading after two periods.
“We play a lot better when we’re confident,” said Tyler Scofield. “Winning the third period is an objective for us. We know that when we have the lead we have the speed and ability to shut teams down.”
Some top analysts debated whether BU got the short end of the stick when it had to play Ohio State instead of drawing Bemidji State in the first round. Bet if you asked coach Jack Parker if he would have rather played the Beavers, he would say he is happy with how it turned out.
The Beavers' top line of Tyler Scofield, Matt Read and Matt Francis took it to Cornell later in the game, continuing its hot streak. Scofield scored two goals and Francis scored another. All three of those came in the third period.
Goalie Matt Dalton, who was later named to the All-Tournament team, was good when he needed to be and finished the night with 25 saves.
“It was a battle the whole game. Giving up that first goal, I was kind of a bit nervous but I had faith in our team,” said Dalton. “It was just an unbelievable feeling. I knew that if we got up we could shut them down pretty good. Once we got up I knew it was meant to happen.”
The run has been nothing short of amazing so far. Even in a tournament full of craziness, Bemidji State has defied the odds. In fact, the Beavers have breezed through two games moreso than any of the other Frozen Four teams. They will go to Washington as the only team of the four without a freshman in net. There's no reason to think Bemidji State can't continue this run against Miami two Thursdays from now.
“We knew this was possible because it’s just something about our program,” said Serratore.