MEN’S HOCKEY: Ross Armour’s hat trick powers Beavers to No. 3 seed, home ice
Thanks to a hat trick by Ross Armour – and the first goal of the year by Aaron Myers – BSU took care of business in a 5-3 win over St. Thomas.
BEMIDJI – The Bemidji State men’s hockey team had an opportunity on Friday at the Sanford Center.
With a regulation win, the Beavers would clinch the No. 3 seed in the CCHA, guaranteeing themselves home-ice advantage for the first round of the conference playoffs.
And thanks to a hat trick by Ross Armour – and the first goal of the year by Aaron Myers – BSU took care of business in a 5-3 win over St. Thomas.
“It's nice to know that we're in our own beds next weekend,” head coach Tom Serratore said. “We're practicing here, we’re not leaving on Thursday. All those types of things.”
Armour got his prolific day started with a backhander in front of the net at 1:46 in the second period. The Tommies answered back with a goal in traffic at 4:15 by Grant Loven.
Armour was credited with another at 11:12, firing a puck that deflected off a St. Thomas skater and into the netting.
“I was fortunate enough to get a bounce and (have it) go into the net,” Armour said.
Myers joined the party with an unassisted score at 6:31 in the third period. Or at least, the scoresheet said unassisted – but there was more to the story.
“He got that shot on net and he followed up and got his own rebound,” Serratore said. “So it was nice to see him get rewarded.”
Armour added his third at 10:57 on a nearly identical backhand shot. At that point, Bemidji State led 4-1 and looked like it would coast to an easy victory.
But it was not to be. St. Thomas showed some fight with goals by Luke Manning at 11:17 and Joey Sofo at 18:20, slicing the deficit to one. But it was the Beavers who put the finishing touch on the game, as Ethan Somoza slid in an empty-netter at 19:16 to seal it.
Despite their individual successes, both Armour and Myers said their main focus was getting a quality win to put BSU back on the right track.
“Getting goals is nice,” Armour said. “But all we wanted as a team is to get in third place here and go into next weekend playing at home.”
And beyond simply clinching home ice in the conference quarterfinals, Bemidji State wants to get back to playing the way that brought it so much success earlier in the season.
“That's obviously what our goal was for the week coming in as a team, just focus on our game and secure third place, which we did tonight,” Myers said. “Which is huge. So we got home ice next week, and then just trying to keep the momentum going tomorrow into next week (and) the start of playoffs.”
At 15-18 overall and 13-12 in the CCHA, the Beavers’ lone path to the NCAA Tournament requires winning their conference tournament and earning the associated automatic bid. That lodestar is helping BSU stay focused as it prepares to finish off the regular season tomorrow.
“That's the end goal,” Myers said. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot throughout the year as far as the NCAA Tournament goes, but somehow we’ve just got to win in the playoffs. So that's our only goal right now.”
Bemidji State will tangle with the Tommies (3-29-1, 3-21-1 CCHA) once again at 6:07 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Sanford Center.
Bemidji State 5, St. Thomas 3
UST 0 1 2 -- 3
BSU 0 2 3 -- 5
First period -- No scoring.
Second period -- 1, BSU GOAL, Armour (Martin, Johnson), 1:46; 2, UST GOAL, Loven (Sofo), 4:15; 3, BSU GOAL, Armour (Ierullo, Martin), 11:12.
Third period -- 4, BSU GOAL, Myers (unassisted), 6:31; 5, BSU GOAL, Armour (Martin), 10:57; 6, UST GOAL, Manning (Loven, Sawchuk), 11:17; 7, UST GOAL, Sofo (Manning), 18:20; 8, BSU GOAL, Somoza (O. Sillinger, Zmolek), 19:16, EN.
Saves -- Sholl (BSU) 19; Thome (UST) 39.