BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) – Five goals from Ohio State University proved to be too much despite a late comeback from No. 9 Bemidji State University as the Buckeyes upended the Beavers 5-3 Friday night at Sanford Center. The loss continues BSU’s struggles in the first game of a series as Bemidji State is now 3-7-2 in game one. Luckily BSU has bounced back in game two this season as the Beavers go into tomorrow’s game with a 9-2-0 mark in the second game of the series. Bemidji State falls to 13-9-2 (7-9-1 WCHA) on the season with Friday’s loss. Ohio State improves to 11-8-4 (8-8-1 WCHA). The win gives Ohio State a four point edge over the Beavers in the standings. BSU came into Friday just one point behind the Buckeyes in fifth place.
Ohio State looked dominant early on as Minttu Tuominen redirected a Kelly Wild shot from the point 2:17 into the game to give the Buckeyes an early 1-0 advantage. The goal was Tuominen’s second of the season. Wild tallied her 11th assist while Melissa Feste also picked up an assist, her third of the year.
The Buckeyes widened their advantage to 14:49 when Ally Tarr found the net for the first time in the game on an Ohio State power play. The Buckeye goal on the BSU penalty kill was only the 14th given up by the Beavers this season. Assists went to Laura McIntosh and Natalie Spooner.
Just as it looked like BSU would go into the break down 2-0, Natasha Kostenko (Fr., F, Fannystelle, Manitoba) stole the puck from the Buckeyes and fired a shot past Lisa Steffes. The goal was Kostenko’s fifth of the year.
Ohio State came out of the gate in the second period just as strongly as they did in the first as Tarr found the net 1:47 into the frame to put the Buckeyes up 3-1 as Spooner won the face-off and found Tarr for the goal. The netter was Tarr’s 12th and the 11th assist of the year for Spooner.
3-1 would be the score heading into the third and remained on the scoreboard for most of the period until both team’s decided to pick up the pace and ignite a scoring onslaught that would see four goals in the final seven minutes of the game. Spooner started the scoring at the 12:50 mark in the third period as she stole the puck from the Beavers on their power play and skated in one-on-one beating Zuzana Tomcikova (Sr., G, Bratislava, Slovakia) for the short-handed goal. The netter was Spooner’s 19th of the season and looked to give Ohio State a definitive 4-1 victory. The goal was only the second short-handed goal allowed by the Beavers this season.
The Beavers would have none of that as Emily Erickson (R-Jr., F, Coleraine, Minn.) found the net from the kill zone off assists from Marlee Wheelhouse (Sr., D, Crookston, Minn.) and Montana Vichorek (Sr., D, Moose Lake, Minn.) to put BSU down 4-2. The goal was Erickson’s team-leading 11th of the year. The assists were the 14th of the year for M. Wheelhouse and the 15th of the year for Vichorek.
Mackenzie Thurston (Jr., F, Ottawa, Ontario) made things interesting with 17:07 remaining in the third as she found the net for the first time this season to put BSU down only 4-3 with less than three minutes remaining off assists from Tess Dusik (So., F, Oak Bluff, Manitoba), her fourth of the year, and Whitney Wivoda (Fr., F, Fairbanks, Alaska), also her fourth of the season.
The Beavers pulled Tomcikova late in the game to give them an extra attacked but it would prove costly as Spooner lifted the puck off the ice and found the BSU empty net from her own blue line with only 20 seconds remaining in the game to give the Buckeyes the 5-3 win.
The Buckeyes outshot the Beavers 23-16 on the night. Spooner led Ohio State with eight shots on goal. McIntosh and Tuominen each chipped in four shots on net. BSU was paced by M. Wheelhouse’s six shots on goal. Erickson and Vichorek each added four shots on net.
Friday’s game was played in front of 628 fans as Beaver Radio Network gave away 800 tickets this week via on-air promotions.
Tomcikova picked up Friday’s loss as she allowed four goals while picking up 25 saves. Steffes picked up the win for Ohio State as she allowed three goals and made 29 saves on the night.
Bemidji State and Ohio State will play game two of the series tomorrow at 7:07 p.m. at Sanford Center.