Freshman wing Ryan Huddy gave Bemidji State one of its most important victories since making the jump to Division I hockey in 1999, firing a rebound past Wayne State goaltender David Guerrera at the 3:59 mark of overtime to give the Beavers a 2-1 victory and a series sweep of the defending College Hockey America champions.
Huddy picked up a loose puck after a Wayne State turnover in its own zone and fired a pass across the top of the crease to teammate Riley Riddell. Riddell took the pass and fired a shot into Guerrera, who could not control the rebound. Huddy, to the left of the crease, grabbed the carom and fired it behind Guerrera into the net, giving BSU the overtime victory.
“We just worked hard,” Huddy said of his game winner. “They turned the puck over, and I just got it and passed it to Riley, and he took a shot. He got a good shot on net and I was there for the rebound.
“[The victory] was huge. Conference games are huge for us. We only get 20 games throughout the season, and we are now 3-0-1. These points are big for us.”
Just as last night’s 2-0 BSU victory had been, tonight’s game was physical and up-tempo from start to finish. The teams combined for 17 minor penalties in the contest, but the penalty-killing units were up to the task as BSU was able to generate the game¹s lone power-play goal. Marty Goulet got BSU on the board just 3:26 into the contest, taking a pass from Andrew Murray to score his third goal of the season and stake BSU to a 1-0 lead.
Wayne State would answer just over eight minutes later, as Chris Vail pounced on a rebound off a shot from Tyler Kindle and evened the score at 1-1 at the 11:45 mark of the first.
From there, the game again turned into a battle between Guerrera and BSU’s Grady Hunt. The score remained 1-1 through the next two periods, until Huddy’s overtime winner gave BSU the series sweep.
Hunt made 35 saves, limiting the Warriors to just one goal for the series. And again, Hunt’s efforts and a BSU win overshadowed a superb effort from Guerrera. Guerrera saved 43 of 45 shots faced, including all 19 shots faced in the second period, and turned away 13 of 14 shots faced with BSU on the power-play. The duo combined to save at a .966 clip for the series (142 of 147).
“This was a huge series for us,” Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore said. “We get four points and Wayne State loses four points. In a 20-game regular season schedule you get your points early and hopefully often. If you do that, you can get your separation. We¹ve got to keep it going. We can’t rest on our laurels. We have just got to get as many points as we can.
“The team played excellent all weekend. Every aspect of our game was on its game. That’s why we got four points against a great team. I think Wayne State is one of the top 15 or 20 teams in the country.”
The win moved Hunt’s record to 3-0-2; in five starts this season, Hunt has allowed just five goals in 313:59 of work (0.95 GAA) and has saved 97 percent of the shots he has faced (160 of 165; .970). The win also continued Hunt’s personal domination of Wayne State; in eight career starts against the Warriors, Hunt is 5-1-2 with a .942 save percentage and a 1.85 GAA.
Wayne State’s special teams failed to convert on any of their seven power-play opportunities; the Warriors are now 3 for 66 (.045) all-time against Bemidji State on the power-play.
The win improves BSU to 3-2-5 on the season and 3-0-1 in the CHA; the Beavers retain sole possession of first place in the league with seven points and hold a three-point cushion over second-place Alabama-Huntsville. Wayne State falls to 3-5-0 and 0-2-0 in CHA play. BSU is back in action Nov. 22-23 in a two-game non-conference road series at Clarkson.