The Beavers continue their unbeaten streak of 1-0-4, which extends back to the 2-2 tie against Minnesota Duluth on Dec. 13, 2009. The five-game unbeaten streak is tied for the fourth longest in the nation.
With the tie BSU now has 21 points in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with an overall record of 7-11-6 (6-6-6-3 WCHA). With the Gophers gaining four points out of the weekend they now have 32 points in the conference with a record of 17-3-4 (13-2-3-3 WCHA).
On the weekend, Bemidji State held the number-three scoring offense to just two goals. This was the second lowest scoring weekend for the Gophers on the season. Coming into the weekend, Minnesota was averaging 3.5 goals per game.
“We really had to hang in there today,” said head coach Steve Sertich. “Minnesota really played like the number-two team in the country tonight. They picked it up a notch and we really had to fight for our lives there in the second and third periods.”
Unlike last night, Bemidji State would strike first. Three minutes into the first period Erin Cody (Jr., Roseville, Minn.) and Annie Bauerfeld (Jr., Woodbury, Minn.) found themselves on a two-on-one opportunity. However, Cody didn’t need any help and dangled her way past Minnesota’s goalie Noora Räty for her 12th goal of the season. Kim Lieder (So., Eagan, Minn.) and Franny Dorr (Sr., Roseville, Minn.) both tallied helpers on the goal.
After one period of play the Gophers and Beavers found themselves evenly matched, with Minnesota owning a slight edge in shots, 9-7.
Coming out in the second period Minnesota picked up its play, just like the night before, out-shooting the Beavers 19-6 in the period. On BSU’s first penalty kill of the game, the Gophers evened the score netting a goal behind Megan Bozek. Unable to produce much offense, the Beavers felt lucky to walk away from the second period only giving up one goal.
The story didn’t change much the third with the Gophers controlling the majority of the play. The number-two team in the country got 16 more shots on goal, but all were denied by BSU tender Zuzana Tomcikova (So., Bratislava, Slovakia). Tomcikova had an incredible series of saves at the end of the game to ensure the game went into overtime. With under 30 seconds left in regulation, Kelli Blankenship’s shot on goal was kicked out to Tomcikova’s right to a wide-open Emily West. As West put the puck back on net, Tomcikova got her right leg on it, stopping and covering the puck for a face off.
In the overtime period, Minnesota was assessed with their third penalty of the game. Defenseman Erika Wheelhouse (Fr., Crookston, Minn.) pinched on the right side as Sarah Erickson was entering the Bemidji State zone. Wheelhouse knocked the puck away, but was then taken into the boards with a cross-check by Erickson. The ensuing power-play allowed Bemidji State to put two shots on goal. Overtime would end with a BSU advantage in shots, 4-1.
Entering into their sixth shootout of the season, Bemidji State looked poised to turn the tables on the Gophers and walk away with two points. Tomcikova turned away the first five shooters from Minnesota before finally conceding one to Brittany Francis. For the Gophers, Räty stopped all six Beaver shot attempts, making two huge glove saves to give Minnesota their second shootout victory on the weekend.
Minnesota attempted 102 total shots in the game. Tomcikova stopped 44 of those shots, while another 30 were blocked by the BSU defense.
Erika Wheelhouse had an outstanding weekend leading the team in blocked shots both nights, totaling 13 blocks on the weekend. She also helped kill off three Beaver penalties over the weekend and picked up an assist in Friday night’s game-tying goal.
Bemidji State will hit the road for the next three weekends. Up first is a trip to Columbus, Ohio for a weekend-waltz with the Buckeyes of Ohio State. Game times are set for 6:07 p.m. Friday and 1:07 p.m. Saturday.
- bsu -