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Niagara hockey teams fall in tournament finals

There will be no NCAA Division I hockey bids for either of the Niagara teams this year.

Senior Ryan Huddy's second-period goal ended a scoreless stalemate and helped send Bemidji State to a 4-2 victory over Niagara on Sunday in the championship game of the College Hockey America men's tournament in Detroit.

In the women's final, No. 1 seed Mercyhurst (23-7-6) fired 45 shots at Niagara goalie Allison Rutledge and added an empty-net goal in overpowering the third-seeded Purple Eagles, 6-2. Niagara finished at 11-21-4.

Huddy, son of Charlie Huddy, who played with the Buffalo Sabres and and three other NHL teams, beat Niagara goalie Jeff Van Nynatten with a rebound shot at 13:37 of the second period to put the Beavers (20-13-3) in front to stay. A short-handed goal by Ryan Miller soon made it 2-0 and Jean-Guy Gervais scored on a two-on-one break only 1:07 into the third for a three-goal cushion.

Niagara (20-15-1) finally got on the board 41 seconds later on freshman Vince Rocco's 11th of the season, and the margin was one after Ted Cook, another freshman, scored on the power play at 14:54 for his 20th. However, Gervais sealed it, scoring with 1:47 left.

Senior Andrew Lackner played in his 145th game, a Niagara record. Van Nynatten made 19 saves, bringing his career total to a record 2,956. Lackner and Cook made the all-tournament team.

Niagara had gone 3-1 in the regular-season series against Bemidji, which will receive the CHA's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It is highly unlikely that Niagara or any other CHA team will get consideration for an at-large bid.

In the women's final, Niagara fell behind, 2-0, but twice cut the margin to one -- on goals by freshman Emily Castonguay and Charde Hoyle-Levy.


BASEBALL: Southern Mississippi hit four home runs in hammering the University at Buffalo for the third game in a row, 14-2. Dan Quinn (Frontier) and Dave Amaro each homered for UB. . . . Kevin Smith and Matt Mazurek (Silver Creek) each had a double and single as Canisius (3-12) lost at Appalachian State (N.C.), 11-3. . . . Brian Pelligrini and Randy Moley (Lancaster) each went 3 for 4 as St. Bonaventure (4-4) ended its Florida road trip with a 17-2 win over Long Island University. On Saturday, Joe Rizzo hit two home runs in a 15-13 win over Iona.


SOFTBALL: Jamie Gerace (Kenmore West) singled with the bases full in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Canisius a 2-1 win over the host team in the Stetson Tournament in DeLand, Fla. The Griffs were shut out, 2-0, on a one-hitter by Florida's Lindsay Littlejohn in the first game. . . . Tory Healy and Christine Howden each went 3 for 4 to help Niagara beat George Mason, 7-3, in the Mason Dixon Classic in Virginia Beach, Va., after a 6-0 loss to Cornell. . . . UB (1-6) lost to Jacksonville, 7-3, in Clearwater, Fla.


MEN'S LACROSSE: Kevin Ross scored twice for Canisius (1-3) in a 9-4 loss to Quinnipiac (4-0) in Hamden, Conn.

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