Alabama-Huntsville hockey battles to tie with No. 8 Bemidji State

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Taking home ice for the final time in 2009-10, the Alabama-Huntsville (10-17-3, 6-10-2 CHA) hockey squad skated to a 2-2 draw with No. 8 Bemidji State in the final regular season College Hockey America contest at Huntsville's Von Braun Center.

With the tie, the Chargers clinch the third seed in next weekend's CHA Tournament hosted by Niagara and avoid a first-round matchup with Bemidji State.

The Beavers drew first blood in the contest when Matt Read skated in on a 2-on-1 and beat UAH junior netminder Cameron Talbot (Caldedonia, Ontario) top shelf to take the 1-0 lead at 8:57.  Ryan Adams and Jordan George picked up the helpers on the play for Bemidji State.

The Chargers drew even in the second period at 2:58 of the frame when junior center Neil Ruffini (Roswell, Ga.) redirected a wrister from freshman winger Keenan Desmet (Strathmore, Alberta) past BSU's Dan Bakala.  Senior blueliner Brennan Barker (Long Sault, Ontario) also picked up a helper on the play.  UAH then took their first lead of the series when freshman center Matti Järvinen (Espoo, Finland) sent a feed from the right circle to junior winger Chris Fairbanks (Millford, Mich.), who was breaking in on net.  Fairbanks skated through the crease and beat Bakala at 15:41 for the 2-1 advantage.  Senior winger Tom Train (Hurst, Texas) also earned an assist on the play.

A Charger penalty just past the mid point of the third period proved to be costly when Ian Lowe scored a power-play tally at 10:59 of the frame to tie the game 2-2.  Brad Hunt and Ben Kinne each assisted on the play.

Talbot stopped 30 Beaver shots in the draw while Bakala made 25 saves for BSU.

Saturday's "Senior Day" contest marked the final home contest for seniors Brennan Barker (Long Sault, Ontario), Blake MacNicol (Milan, Ohio), Kevin Morrison (Mississauga, Ontario), Davide Nicoletti (Toronto, Ontario) Brandon Roshko (Hamilton, Ontario) and Cale Tanaka (Stouffville, Ontario).

The contest marked the end of an era as College Hockey America is set to disband following the end of the season.  UAH will play the 2010-11 season as an independent.

The Chargers head to Niagara N.Y. next weekend for the CHA Tournament with a first-round matchup against Robert Morris on Friday afternoon.