BEMIDJI, Minn. - Snapping a 17-game winless streak against the University of Minnesota, the Bemidji State University women's hockey team downed the Golden Gophers for the third time in program history by a score of 2-0 at the Bemidji Regional Event Center on Friday afternoon.
The last time the Beavers defeated the Gophers was on Feb. 9, 2006 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis also by a score of 2-0. The win is the first home-win over Minnesota in BSU history and is a great indicator of how far the BSU women's hockey program has come since its inception.
"We've come so far," senior captain Erin Cody (Fwd., Roseville, Minn.) added. "I've been here before where they were basically playing keep-away from us from the very beginning. Just going out there tonight and knowing that we're even with them and that we have a good chance to win, it just comes down to who wants it more."
After having a quiet weekend against Ohio State in the previous week, Cody came out firing and gave the Beavers an early lead. Just six minutes into the start of the game, a failed attempt at the Gophers to clear the puck out of their zone resulted in Cody corralling the puck at the right face off circle. With traffic between her and the UM tender Noora Raty, Cody saw an opening and rifled the puck on net. Her shot went bar-down over Raty's glove. Cody's linemate Sadie Lundquist (So., Fwd., Coleraine, Minn.) picked up the first assist on the play. Freshman defender Allie Duellman (Maplewood, Minn.) picked up her first-collegiate assist, second career point, as she stopped the clearing attempt at the blue line to gain the second assist on the play.
It was the sixth multipoint game for Cody this season and while she has recorded a point in all, but four games so far this season, a lot of the credit for the win is due to the brilliant play between the pipes by Zuzana Tomcikova (Jr., Bratislava, Slovakia). In her fourth shutout of the season and 12th of her career, Tomcikova turned aside 29 shots including a handful of two-on-one chances by the Gophers.
With the early lead over the nationally-ranked Gophers, the were not about to rest on their laurels. BSU went on to out-shoot the Gophers 9-10 in the first period and eventually 16-11 in the second.
One area this season where the Beavers have found themselves struggling has been in the third period. Bemidji State has been out-scored 14-4 in the third period so far this season and the Gophers took to the ice in the final frame looking to take advantage of that weakness. However, Bemidji State had other intentions in mind, and while being out-shot for the period, played a great defensive period shutting down the Gopher scoring chances.
With under two minutes left in the game and the score still 1-0 in BSU's favor, Minnesota opted to replace Raty for an extra attacker. The extra attacker didn't seem to phase the Beavers as they stepped up their play and actually controlled the puck behind the goal line of UM's empty net. Annie Bauerfeld (Sr., Fwd., Woodbury, Minn.) had an open shot at the vacant net, but hit the side pipe on her attempt. Cody came out on the next shift and eventually found the back of the net to seal the fourth BSU victory over a nationally-ranked team this season.
In the game the Beavers blocked a total of 16 shots, with four each coming from Marlee Wheelhouse (Jr., Def., Crookston, Minn.) and Erika Wheelhouse (So., Def., Crookston, Minn.). The Beaver defense also killed-off all three penalty kills in the game.
The Beavers improve to 7-6-2 (5-4-2-1 WCHA) on the season while the Gophers drop to 10-6-0 (5-6-0-0 WCHA). Bemidji State now moves into fourth place in the conference with 18 points, while Minnesota is just one game behind with 15 points.
Both teams return to the ice for a rematch tomorrow afternoon with another 2:07 p.m. game time.