Bemidji State Consoled With Comeback Tie
CHN Staff Report
About one year ago, Bemidji State and Robert Morris were playing in the CHA championship game. Bemidji State needed a win to qualify for the NCAAs, which it got, en route to a Cinderella run to the Frozen Four.
Today, the same teams faced under different circumstances, in the consolation game, but with Bemidji already having secured an NCAA bid. The Beavers and Colonials took the game into overtime and ended with a 3-3 tie, with most of the goals coming midway through the game.
Bemidji State didn’t necessarily need to win the CHA tournament, but for teams still fighting to make the playoffs, a Beavers’ win this weekend would’ve made their lives a bit easier. No matter the case, Bemidji State is expected to make the NCAAs, but with a loss against Niagara on Friday night, it opened the door for Alabama-Huntsville to snag the league's automatic bid in the title game.
“I don’t know. Right now we are taking the approach that we are in. I think that is what you have to do,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “I just told the guys in the locker room that we are going to come back Thursday and get prepared for a regional.
“We just have to watch and wait right now, but we are ranked high enough now that we feel good about it.”
With two CHA conference teams advancing to the NCAAs, a nationally-ranked team sitting at the make-it or break-it point will find their season’s end come sooner than hoped.
Bemidiji State and Robert Morris played their final games as members of the dissolving CHA at Dwyer Arena on Saturday. The Beavers are set to become apart of the WCHA, while RMU will join Atlantic Hockey. The changes seem to be welcomed by all teams involved, with the exception of Alabama-Huntsville, who will continue playing as an independent.
“That’s unhealthy,” RMU coach Derek Schooley said. “It helps Niagara and Robert Morris going into a very good hockey league to be able to play numerous teams. Who wants to see Robert Morris play Niagara seven times, or four times here? That’s the difference.”
Ryan Cramer opened up the consolation game scoring for Bemidji State with a power-play goal in the first. Cramer’s 13th goal of the season came on a pass from defensemen Chris Peluso and Tyler Lehrke with 7:11 remaining.
“Tyler Lehrke made a really good play there, the goalie was following him all the way,” said Cramer.
Bemidji peppered RMU’s backup goaltender, Eric Levine, with 11 shots in the second period. Levine had a record of 1-3-2 going into today’s game. With none of their chances finding the back of the net, Bemidji State went into the third period clinging to their one-goal lead over the Colonials.
However, Robert Morris came out flying in the final period of play, scoring three goals in just 2 minutes. BSU goaltender Dan Bakala was pulled from the game after giving up his third goal, scored by forward Nathan Longpre on a shot from the top left circle.
Trailing 3-1, the Beavers were far from giving up. Bemidji came back within one on a huge turnover by Robert Morris; left winger Ben Kinne slapped the puck in on the rebound. Just moments later, junior Ian Lowe forced the game into overtime with a one-timer to tie the game at three goals a piece.
With Bemidji suddenly struggling, somewhat, entering the NCAAs, but a probably No. 2 seed anyway, it's the exact opposite situation as last year.
“I thought our guys showed a lot of resiliency. I’m proud of them for coming back for the tie. Obviously we would’ve liked the win,” said BSU coach Tom Serratore. “It was a situation where many times we could’ve lost that game, but hopefully that last 10 minutes there carries over.”