Bemidji State men's hockey tops Robert Morris
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State men's hockey team winning formula of strong team defense, good goaltending and opportunistic scoring paid dividends once again Friday.
The Beavers set the tone by taking a 1-0 lead in the first 1:24 of the game and never were threatened, taking a 5-1 win from Robert Morris University (7-14-4, 3-5-2 CHA) at the John Glas Fieldhouse.
It was the Beavers (18-5-2, 10-1-0 CHA) third straight over the Colonials and the team's fourth win in a row this season. The win was also the 500th victory for the Beavers at the Glas.
Junior forward Ian Lowe had two goals and two assists with freshman Jordan George adding a pair of goals and an assist as the Beavers posted their 10th CHA win against one loss this season.
Still, the victory was taken with a grain of salt by the BSU coaching staff.
"Our guys work hard; they have consistently done that all year and I can't say enough about it," reported BSU head coach Tom Serratore. "We need to continue to work hard, but also work smart.
"I told the guys before the game you can't always control the outcome of the game, but you can control how you play. At times, we were a little careless with the puck and we committed way too many turnovers. We have to make sure we are a better team tomorrow."
The two teams conclude the series tonight in a 7 p.m. start. Senior Night activities will be held prior to the start, honoring McKelvie, Chris Peluso, Lehrke and Kyle Hardwick.
Bemidji State got out to just the start it wanted, taking a 2-0 first period lead.
The RMU penalty kill, which came into the game struggling, gave up a goal early. Ron Cramer was called for an elbowing penalty just 21 seconds into the game and the Beavers quickly converted.
Ian Lowe threaded a nice pass across the crease from the near circles. Jordan George was camped out down low and rammed the puck past RMU goalie Brooks Ostergard at 1:24.
The Beavers made it 2-0 with just over six minutes remaining. This time George found Lowe, who was crashing to the net, with a cross ice pass. Lowe zipped the puck past Ostergard from the slot for a 2-0 lead.
It was a wide open first period with both teams playing with a lot of energy. Shots were even at 13-13.
"We were opportunistic on our chances, but I thought Robert Morris played very well," Serratore reported. "We had a lot of turnovers and didn't manage the puck."
The Beavers extended the lead to 4-1 after a penalty plagued second period. The Beavers were whistled for four minors in the period and Robert Morris three - the last two being bench penalties for too many men on the ice.
The Beavers wasted little time in taking a 3-0 lead, scoring just 34 seconds into the second period. Matt Read got a pass in the slot and made a good move to get off a shot. The rebound came out to Ian Lowe whose shot was saved, but that rebound found the stick of George who connected for his second of the night.
The Colonials got on the board at 8:04, right after a RMU power play had expired. James Lyle connected on a hard shot from the top of the circles to make it 3-1. It was Lyle's first goal of the year.
But the Beavers responded at 13:10, this one off a nice 3 on 2 passing play for the second game in a row by the line of Chris McKelvie, Jamie MacQueen and Tyler Lehrke. MacQueen made a pass from the near face off dot to the slot to McKelvie. He then made a pass across the crease to Lehrke who was crashing the net. Lehrke tipped the puck past Ostergard for his fifth goal of the year. The same line scored a very similar goal against Minnesota-Duluth in the series finale last weekend.
"I can't say enough about how well that line has been playing," Serratore reported. "All we ask of them is to keep the other team's top line from scoring. Not only have they done that the last two games, they've also scored big goals. They are playing really well."
The Beavers penalty kill was stellar in the second period, killing four minors - including nearly four straight minutes to open the period. RMU held a 10-7 shot advantage in the period.
Holding the three goal lead the Beavers concentrated on keeping the Colonials off the scoreboard in the third period. Lowe concluded the scoring with an empty net goal with 31 seconds remaining.
"We'll always take the win," Serratore reported, "but we need to get better with our puck control. Sometimes turnovers can happen inadvertently when you have a three or four goal lead. But it's still a point of concern for us."
BSU goalie Dan Bakala had a strong night in net, ending with 32 saves to improve his record to 15-3-2 on the year. "I can't say enough about how well Bakala played," Serratore reported. "Every time we had a break down he was there for us.
"I hope we have a better game (tonight)."