MINNEAPOLIS – An early deficit was too much to overcome as the Bemidji State University women’s hockey team fell 4-1 to the No. 4 Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday night at Ridder Arena. The Gophers took advantage of a sluggish defensive corps that started the game for the Beavers, scoring all four goals in the first period, including three goals within a three minute span.
An early deficit was too much to overcome as the Bemidji State University women’s hockey team fell 4-1 to the No. 4 Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday night at Ridder Arena. The Gophers took advantage of a sluggish defensive corps that started the game for the Beavers, scoring all four goals in the first period, including three goals within a three minute span.
The Beavers knew they needed to come out with some determination if they wanted to skate with the Gophers for 60 minutes. Off the opening draw, BSU went on the offensive and ended up catching UM’s Megan Bozek freezing the puck in the crease which resulted in a penalty shot for Bemidji State. Senior captain Erin Cody (Fwd., Roseville, Minn.) went to center ice to take the penalty shot for the Beavers just. Skating into the zone on UM’s tender Noora Raty, Cody make a move to her right and put the puck past the bronze medalist for her 19th goal of the season, giving the Beavers an early lead just thirty seconds into the game.
While Bemidji State started with an offensive blitz, the defense got caught chasing the puck and relied on Alana McElhinney (Jr., G., Calgary, Alberta) to come through with a huge save on a back-door play. However, the defensive struggles would continue for the Beavers and the Gophers would net a tying goal at the 3:12 mark on a two-on-one play.
Minnesota has been the type of team that really gets rolling when they get a bit of steam underneath them and that’s exactly what happened midway through the period. With the momentum from the tying goal, the Gophers went on a three-goal blitz in under the span of three minutes. Two goals were the result of scrambles in front of the net where the loose puck landed on the stick of a Gopher, while one came as an unattested Sarah Erickson put a one-timer past McElhinney from a pass originating behind the BSU net.
While still making big saves, on what could have been more easy goals for the Gophers, BSU opted to change things up and switched net minders, putting Zuzana Tomcikova (Jr., Bratislava, Slovakia) in at the 14:26 mark who was fresh off a return from the World University Winter Games in Turkey the past two weeks.
Facing a No. 4 team with all the momentum rolling in its favor, Tomcikova went on to make some brilliant saves for the Beavers to close out the period. Fueled with a sense of determination backed with a bit of luck, Tomcikova kept the Gophers from inking more names on the score sheet for the rest of the games, posting 45:34 minutes of shutout hockey.
The Beavers rallied back defensively in the second and third periods, but couldn’t muster any lucky bounces on offense. Not quitting and progressively getting better as the game went on, the Beavers ended up out-shooting the Gophers 12-10 in the third period.
The loss eliminates any hopes of securing home ice for the first round of conference playoffs as Minnesota Duluth seals at least a fourth place finish in the WCHA.
The two teams will return to the ice tomorrow evening with a game time set for 4:07 p.m. back at Ridder Arena.
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