After a first half of the season that saw 14-straight losses, the Bemidji State University women’s hockey team is now on a four-game win streak after rolling to a 4-1 victory over Minnesota State University Saturday afternoon at John Glas Fieldhouse. BSU earned its first series sweep over a Western Collegiate Hockey Association opponent since Dec. 16-17, 2006, and is on its longest win streak since February 2007.
The sweep over MSU comes on the heels of Friday’s 2-1 win, which snapped BSU’s 25-game conference losing streak. The Beavers have now opened the new year with two-straight sweeps after taking down Robert Morris Jan. 2-3.
Bemidji State sent Minnesota State back to Mankato with two losses for just the second time in school history. The last home sweep over the Mavericks came Feb. 22-23, 2001.
BSU improves its season record to 5-15-2 overall and 2-14 in the WCHA, while the Mavericks fall to 6-12-2 overall and 3-11--2 in league play.
The action was fairly even throughout the first period, with MSU holding a slim 10-9 shot advantage. The scoreboard would read identical 1-1 scores at the end of one.
Nina Tikkinen netted a power-play marker 8:10 in after going glove side. Holly Snyder and Emmi Leinonen provided the assists.
With 4:35 remaining in the frame, Annie Bauerfeld (So., Woodbury, Minn.) was able to tie the game with her fifth goal of the season. After MSU dumped the puck down the ice deep into the BSU zone, Montana Vichorek (Fr., Moose Lake, Minn.) took it from behind the goal and wrapped it around the boards in an attempt to clear.
Kaylee Keys (Fr., St. Paul, Minn.) found the puck right at the blue line and flicked it over the heads of all the MSU players to a wide-open Bauerfeld near the MSU blue line. She skated into the zone, settled the puck and brought it into her body just as a Maverick skated in front of her to try and break up the play. Bauerfeld had an open lane to the net after calmly letting the defender skate past, and she rifled a shot glove-side to even the score.
The Beavers found themselves with even more scoring chances in the second, and were able to capitalize on the strong offensive performance when Erin Johnson’s (So., Farmington, Minn.) fourth goal of the season at the 6:00 mark gave the home team a 2-1 lead.
BSU was controlling the tempo and had possession of the puck deep in the MSU zone. Lauren Williams (Fr., Eagan, Minn.) had it near the boards in the middle of the faceoff circle. She passed it to the high slot where Jackie Robertson (Jr., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) was holding the zone. She sent a pass back down ice along the boards to Lexy Parenteau (So., Franconia, Minn.), who fended off two Mavericks and was able to safely send a pass to Johnson inside the faceoff circle.
Johnson went straight to the net and had two options - A. Pass to Williams who had found her way the net waiting for a shot attempt or, B. Fire the puck into the back of the net.
Johnson chose option B, but not after making sure both the last defender and the MSU goaltender thought she would choose option A. The two MSU players slid over to the right to try and defend the pass to Williams, and Johnson calmly placed the puck into the back of the relatively open net.
The 2-1 advantage after two periods would prove to be sufficient, but this team wanted more.
Vichorek was handling the puck near the blue line on a Bemidji State power play midway through the third period. She sent a pass to Bauerfeld who was inside the faceoff circle. Bauerfeld baited a defender to try and take the puck, and slid it down to the goal line to a wide open Erin Cody (So., Roseville, Minn.). Cody attacked the net and fired a shot past a diving defender and into the chest of the netminder.
There was a big rebound and Cody was able to backhand a shot into the net 8:28 into the third for her team-leading ninth goal of the season.
After more stellar defense that saw the green and white block 24 total shots, MSU found itself down 3-1 with little time to play. The road squad pulled its goaltender in the final minute and Bemidji State took advantage when Keys found the open net off an assist by Cody to solidify the 4-1 final.
Keys broke up a pass near the BSU blue line and tried to score from center ice on the open net. The puck ricocheted off the back board and came out near the edge of the crease. Keys was streaking down ice and missed the open net again as she sent it over into the corner. Cody skated over and so did five of the six Mavericks that were on the ice at the time. She sent a pass over to Keys who hadn’t moved right in front of the net. The third time was a charm as she tapped it home with 11 seconds remaining.
Bemidji State outshot MSU 33-28, its first time outshooting a conference opponent all season. The Beavers were 1-for-5 on the power play and Minnesota State went 1-for-4 with a man advantage.
Cody assisted on her seventh goal of the season and increased her team lead to 16 points (9g-7a=16p). Keys recorded her second-career multi-point game, and she now has four goals and four assists for eight points.
Bauerfeld notched both her 10th-career goal and assist, and she has five of each this season (5g-5a=10p). She now has five multi-point games, and three of them have come against Minnesota State.
Her (5g-2a=7p) and Cody (5g-4a=9p) have now combined for 10 goals and six assists for 16 points in eight career games against the Mavericks.
Vichorek recorded her first-career multi-assist game, and she now is tied for the team lead in assists with seven (1g-7a=8p).
Four players had multiple points, and Johnson scored her first-career game-winning goal. She now has recorded a point in her last three games.
Parenteau and Robertson each assisted on their second goals of the season.
Bemidji State rookie netminder Zuzana Tomcikova (Bratislava, Slovakia) continues to dominate in-between the pipes. She allowed just one goal and recorded 27 saves to bump her record to 4-12-1 this year. She is 3-0 in her last three games.
For the weekend, the conference record three-time defending WCHA Defensive Player of the Week had a 1.00 goals against average and had a .970 save percentage. She saved 63 of 65 shots faced, and the two goals she allowed were on the power play (one goal was a 5-on-3 marker).
She lowered her goals against average to 2.47 and increased her save percentage to .934 on the season, third best in the WCHA. She also has a WCHA-high 593 saves.
Bemidji State moves to 6-9-6 all-time against the Mavericks at the Glas, and are now 15-20-7 in the all-time series with Minnesota State. The Beavers are also now 1-13-1 when allowing the first goal.
will be looking to keep the recent momentum going when the team travels
to Ridder Arena Jan. 16-17 to take on the No. 2-ranked University of
Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-2-1, 14-1-1 WCHA). The two teams will take
the ice at 6:07 p.m. and 4:07 p.m., respectively.