March 15, 2008 PRINT Bookmark and Share

It's Niagara-Bemidji Again

by Chrissy Foster/CHN Reporter

LEWISTON, N.Y. — The 2008 CHA tournament could be the last that decides an NCAA bid, but if that's the case, the teams are striving to go out with a bang — each choosing a distinct path.

Wayne State, of course, is emblematic of the conference's plight, playing its last games in the program's history. The school announced before the season it was disbanding the program.

With that in mind, the Warriors defeated Alabama-Huntsville on Friday, striving to take it all and leave their mark as an adieu to their program. Their passion paved the way to a 4-0 win over the Chargers.

"We were here to play three games; we are here to play to the end," said senior captain Mike Forgie. "For us seniors it would be a nice cap off, to win the CHA tournament."

Alas, it was not to be. The Warriors did indeed leave their hearts on the ice, but couldn't match the power that Bemidji State brought to Niagara's Dwyer Arena. After a physical game, the Warriors were forced to take their final strides off the ice, in a 4-1 loss.

"Your mentality and execution better be top notch when playing a team like Wayne State," explained said Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore. "I liked the way they played and I liked the way they were coached."

While the first game ended an era, the other game featured the end of a different era.

In Saturday's second semifinal, the No. 2-seeded Niagara University Purple Eagles took on No. 3 Robert Morris, a still-upstart program that touted 14 seniors. The two teams played close for the first two periods, until Niagara amped up to a pace that the Colonials couldn't keep up with. A four-goal burst helped the Purple Eagles over the visiting Colonials 6-3, including two by Egor Mironov.

"We knew we were playing well, we had a positive attitude," said Mironov. "We got the momentum back and it won us the game."

Everything will come to a head on Sunday in front of a national television audience (2 p.m., CSTV) to see the Purple Eagles and Beavers go at it for the third straight year to decide the McLeod Trophy and a trip to the NCAAs.

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