MINNEAPOLIS - The Bemidji State women’s hockey team historic playoff run came to an end Saturday afternoon as the No. 2 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs defeated the Beavers 7-3 in the semifinal round of the 2010 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF. Bemidj State ends the season with a record of 12-19-7 (9-12-7-3 WCHA).
“We’re really proud of our team and the season we had,” said head coach Steve Sertich. “We didn’t quit after we got done to a heck-of-a hockey team. I’ve seen players and teams give up and our kids didn’t, and I’m proud of the fact that they battled back.”
The number-two team in the country over powered the Beavers as the Bulldogs top line of Laura Fridfinnson, Katie Wilson, and Emmanuelle Blais had a combined 14 points in the game.
It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to jump on the scoreboard as Fridfinnson scored for UMD 24 seconds into the game off a broken play by the Beavers. UMD’s Katie Wilson would add another goal for the Bulldogs poking in a loose puck that was carried in on net from Blais. Zuzana Tomcikova (So., G., Bratislava, Slovakia) did her best to battle back including making a huge glove save off a rebound to halt the Minnesota Duluth blitz. However, with under a minute left in the first period Fridfinnson would strike again on a scramble in front of the net poking in another loose puck.
The start of the second period was not much different from that of the first as UMD put two quick goals in the back of the net to go up 5-0. Looking to spark a change, Alana McElhinney (So., G., Calgary, Alberta) took over net-minding duties at the 16:54 mark of the second period. Later Emily Erickson (R-Fr., For., Coleraine, Minn.) put the Beavers on the board with a goal beating the glove side of UMD’s goalie. Kim Lieder (So., Def., Eagan, Minn.) and Marlee Wheelhouse (So., Def., Crookston, Minn.) tallied assists on the play.
While the Beaver offense looked more lively after the goal, the Bulldogs kept BSU from scoring again in the period and scored one more of their own to go up 6-1 heading into the third.
When most teams would have called it quits with a five-goal deficit, the Beaver offense started the third period determined to battle back. Bemidji State would cut the Minnesota Duluth lead in half behind two early goals in the period by Erin Cody (Jr., For., Roseville, Minn.) and Erickson. With the game at 6-3 the Beavers looked to mount a comeback. McElhinney went to the bench for an extra attacker with four minutes left in the game. However, Bemidji State couldn’t find a goal with six skaters and UMD capped their eventual victory with an empty-net goal with 1:40 left to play.
“We were expecting them to come out hard and we wanted to come after that too,” Erickson said. “We got behind early, but like coach said, we didn’t give up and I think that shows the true character of our team.”
While the seven goals against was the most allowed all season, McElhinney played well in the relief effort posting 12 saves on 13 shots. For the game BSU had 20 shots on goal to UMD’s 33.
Emily Erickson had a hand in all three Beaver goals, scoring two and assisting on one.
Erika Wheelhouse (Fr., Def., Crookston, Minn.) capped her freshman campaign with an assist on the final goal bring her season totals to 14 assists. She finished second on the team for assists in the season.
Erin Cody’s goal was the 20th of the season. The 2009-10 campaign was the best of her career as she totaled 33 points (20G, 13A). She is now tied for third all-time at BSU with 36 career goals.
Jackie Robertson (Sr., Def., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) ends her career tied for games played with 144. She shares the record with former teammate Brooke Collins.
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