Nick Ross | Sports Writer | 12-10-2011
The BSU men’s hockey team took to the ice in hopes of salvaging a sweep with the nation’s 13th ranked team, the Denver Pioneers on Saturday night. The Beavers were coming off of a heart breaking 3-2 loss on Friday. The Beavers would avenge themselves, going onto win 2-1.
“Our guys are playing good hockey,” head coach Tom Serratore said. “I like the chemistry of our guys and they are playing with a lot of confidence. I am very comfortable with the way we are playing and I feel good about it. It is attributed to our guys right now and where their minds are at.”
Freshman goaltender Andrew Walsh would get his third career win, amassing a career high 36 saves. Junior captain Ben Kinne would get an assist as well as scoring the game-winning goal in the third period.
The Beavers found a way to kill six penalties during the game, while converting one of their three power play opportunities. The Beavers have 11 power play goals on the season in 55 attempts.
“[Walsh] played very well,” Serratore said. “Your best penalty killer has to be your goaltender. Our guys are doing a great job on the penalty kill right now, they are in a good rhythm, their sticks are in a good spot and they are confident.”
The Beavers would get the scoring started early in the first period. Junior forward Jordan George scored his 11th goal of the season, on the power play. George scored from a wideangled shot off of a rebound with assists going to Kinne and senior defenseman Brad Hunt. It was Hunt’s 101st career point and 79th career assist, which is the highest in the BSU Division-I era.
The Beavers would get a short-handed opportunity later in the period when Kinne blocked a shot to send him on a breakaway. He would be pressured on the shot and did not score, sending the teams to the break with BSU holding a 1-0 lead.
The teams would play to a scoreless second period. The Beavers were shorthanded for six minutes in the second period, killing all three penalties and allowing just three shots on net while shorthanded.
The Beavers would add to their lead in the third period when Kinne added a goal of his own. Kinne found the puck in front of the net and buried it past the Denver goaltender, giving the Beavers their first two-goal lead of the weekend.
“That was huge,” Serratore said of the second goal. “Having a two goal lead lets you breathe a little better on the bench. It was a big boost having a two-goal lead.”
The Pioneers would finally solve Walsh at the 11:47 mark in the third period. Daniel Doremus added his fourth goal of the season, putting the Pioneers within one.
The Pioneers would pull their goaltender with just under two minutes to play for the extra attacker but the Beavers would hold them off, to get the first win against Denver in program history and pick up the weekend split.
“We are rolling right now as a team and I know we can keep this going next weekend against Huntsvillle,” Kinne said after the game.
The Beavers will be back at the Sanford Center next weekend when the University of Alabama-Huntsville comes to town to renew an old CHA rivalry. The Beavers will bevery cozy at the Sanford Center with four more games left in the current home stand.