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BEMDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) – The Bemidji State University men’s hockey team sent its senior class out in style Saturday, earning a 6-2 victory over the University of Alabama-Huntsville in the 2015-16 Sanford Center finale.
Fittingly, senior captain Graeme McCormack led the way for the Beavers. He set up four of the Beavers’ six goals to become the first BSU player to post four assists in a single game since Tyler Scofield, Dec. 3, 2015. Fellow seniors John Parker netted two goals and Markus Gerbrandt collected a pair of assists.
In addition to a healthy dose of scoring, the Beavers’ got their special teams clicking early and finished the night 3-of-7 on the man advantage and held the Chargers without a goal on four power-play attempts, while adding a short-handed goal.
The Beavers needed only moments to get on the board and it was an all-senior line of John Parker from Markus Gerbrandt and Graeme McCormack which ignited the scoring barrage. Parker’s goal just 11 seconds after the opening face off stands as BSU’s second-fastest goal to open a game in program history and matches a goal scored by Devin Lowe of University of Miami, Nov. 30, 2013, for the fastest goal on record at Sanford Center.
BSU would add a pair of power-play goals before the first period closed to take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission break. Gerry Fitzgerald netted his first goal since Jan. 12 at the 15:20 mark and Myles scored his first of two goals on the night at the 19:28 mark to open a five-minute five-on-three opportunity that would carry into the first 4:11 of the second period.
Parker opened the second-period scoring with a power-play tally, his tenth goal of the year, at the 3:41 mark of the frame before the Chargers would get on the board on a Brandon Parker goal at the 10:14 mark and M. Fitzgerald would score an unassisted goal with 4:03 to left in the period.
After a second Chargers’ goal at the 6:30 mark of the third, Charlie O’Connor found the back of the net with help from members of his penalty-kill unit, Kyle Bauman and McCormack, to settle the score at 6-2.
Sophomore goaltender Michael Bitzer turned aside 17 shots in the game to improve to 11-13-5 overall and 9-4-3 since Jan. 1.
The victory effectively eliminated Alabama-Huntsville from the 2016 WCHA postseason as only the top eight team advance to the best-of-three opening round March 11-13.
The Beavers (15-13-6; 10-11-5 WCHA) hit the road to wrap up the regular season at Minnesota State University, Mankato March 4-5. Both games will begin at 7:07 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Center.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
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