HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Von Braun Center) -- Matt Baxter scored twice to lead a trio of Chargers with three points as the University of Alabama-Huntsville men's ice hockey team defeated Bemidji State University, 4-3, Saturday at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Ala. The one-goal victory not only earn a non-conference split for UAH, it marked the first time the Chargers have posted a win over the Beavers since Nov. 7, 2008.
A BSU penalty-kill unit that had allowed just four power-play goals in its last 12 games (4-of-47), conceded three to the Chargers Saturday. Ala.-Huntsville capitalized on a its first two man advantage opportunities of the evening to take a 2-0 lead less than 15 minutes into the game and the Beavers would never recover.
Baxter opened the scoring at the 9:06 mark, just 52 seconds into UAH's first man advantage chance of the evening and would never relinquish the lead. Mac Roy and Jamie Easton were credited with assists on the play.
Six minutes later, the Chargers' lead swelled to 2-0 when Roy converted a BSU penalty into a power-play goal just six seconds after senior Ryan Adams (D, Deloraine, Manitoba) was escorted to the penalty box for interference.
With 20 minutes of play in the books, the Chargers owned a 14-9 advantage in shots on goal and were up 2-0.
BSU cut their deficit in half, scoring the only goal of the second frame. Emil Billberg (Sr., F, Stockholm, Sweden) potted his career-high fifth goal of the season at the 16:29 mark with help from Brady Wacker (So., D, Jansen, Saskatchewan) and linemate Matt Read (Sr., F, Ilderton, Ontario).
The Beavers opened the third with Ala.-Huntsville well within reach, but by the eight-minute mark, UAH scored twice to open up a three-goal lead, 4-1. In addition, to Baxter's second power-play tally of the afternoon just 50 seconds into the stanza, Keenan Desmet posted Ala.-Huntsville's only six-on-six goal at the 7:37 mark.
Aaron McLeod (So., F, Ottawa, Ontario) trimmed UAH's lead to two goals, 4-2, ten seconds later.
With under five minutes to play, Read scored his second short-handed goal of the season, but that was close as BSU would come as time would run out on the Beavers' comeback despite peppering the Chargers' goaltender with 15 shots in the final 20 minutes.
Special teams play was the difference in the one-goal game. UAH finished scoring on 3-of-5 power-play chances, while despite netting a short-handed goal for the second straight night, the Beavers' special teams units failed to net a goal on two man advantage opportunities.
Clark Sanders collected 32 saves in net for the Chargers and allowed three goals, while picking up his third win of the season. On the other end of the ice, Mathieu Dugas (So., G, L'Assomption, Quebec), who made his first start since Nov. 26, turned away 21 shots and fell to 1-4-1 on the season after allowing four UAH goals.
Despite taking the loss, the Beavers continue to hold a 36-28-4 advantage in the all-time series and since Mar. 3, 2006, BSU is a dominant 23-3-2.
Bemidji State, now 8-11-1 overall will continue its current road swing next weekend as it travels to Omaha, Neb. to face the nationally-ranked Mavericks. The series is set for a 7:37 p.m. start Friday and a 7:07 p.m. contest Saturday. Both games are set for the Quest Center.