PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Kimberly Lieder (Sr., D, Eagan, Minn.) used her lethal slapshot to score the game winner at the 11:36 mark in the third period to lift the No. 8 Bemidji State University women's hockey team to a 3-2 victory over the Robert Morris University Colonials Friday afternoon at the RMU Hockey Showcase. Friday's contest was played at the CONSOL Energy Center, the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. The Beavers improve to 11-7-2 on the season and 4-0-1 in nonconference action. Robert Morris falls to 11-3-2 on the season.
BSU outshot the Colonials 39-20 and capitalized on 2-of-7 power-play opportunities. The Beaver penalty kill unit was solid as they stopped RMU on six power plays. Lauren Williams (Sr., F, Eagan, Minn.) and Kristin Huber (Fr., F, Kelowna, British Columbia) paced the Beavers with five shots on goal. Natasha Kostenko (Fr., F, Fannystelle, Manitoba) tallied a goal and an assist and Mackenzie Thurston (Jr., F, Ottawa, Ontario) notched two assists.
Bemidji State turned to its freshman class early in Friday afternoon's contest as they were without two of its leading scorers Emily Erickson (R-Jr., F, Coleraine, Minn.) and Montana Vichorek (Sr., D, Moose Lake, Minn.), who were participating in the US Women's Hockey Winter Festival at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minn. Kostenko broke through first for the Beavers at the 17:04 mark in the first period as she cleaned up a Thurston shot in front of the net and put it past Robert Morris goaltender Kristen DiCiocco. The goal was Kostenko's third of her freshman season. Thurston and Huber picked up assists on the goal. The assist was Thurston's eighth of the season and Huber's fourth of the year. The goal was the 24th power-play goal of the season for the Beavers.
Just a few minutes later, penalties from the Colonials' Paige Pietrangelo and Kathryn Stack gave the Beavers a two skater advantage with 1:30 left in the first period. The Beavers who have struggled on five-on-three opportunities so far this season finally took advantage of the opportunity as freshman Whitney Wivoda (F, Fairbanks, Alaska) lifted the puck up and over DiCiocco for her third goal at BSU and the Beavers' 24th power-play goal of the 2011-12 campaign. Thurston got her second assist of the game and ninth of the year while Kostenko added an assist, her fourth of the year.
Bemidji State seemed to have a comfortable 2-0 lead in the second period but saw their lead quickly erased as Robert Morris goals from Anneline Lauziere at the 7:33 mark and Rebecca Vint 9:19 into the second evened the slate 2-2. Lauziere's goal came off a shot fired from the left circle top shelf over the shoulder of BSU goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova (Sr., G, Bratislava, Slovakia). Vint's goal came as she wrapped around the goal and put it past Tomcikova. Cobina Delaney had the assist on the first goal while Thea Imbrogno assisted on the second Colonial goal.
The Colonials looked to have a golden chance to take the lead mid-way through the third period when Imbrogno had a one-on-one breakaway opportunity but Tomcikova came up with a big save to keep the Beavers square with RMU 2-2.
Unlike Robert Morris, Bemidji State was able to capitilize on a golden opportunity as Lieder's slapshot bounced off the pipe and then preceded to hit the back of DiCiocco and bounce into the net. The bouncing puck gave Lieder her third goal of the season and proved to be the game winner for the Beavers. Abby Williams (R-Jr., F, Alexandria, Minn.) notched her fifth assist of the year on Lieder's ace.
Tomcikova picked up her eighth victory of the season as she stopped 18 Colonial shots and allowed two goals. Tomcikova is inching closer to several BSU career marks as she needs only 42 saves to surpass Emily Brookshaw's mark of 3,075 saves. She also only needs just over 80 minutes appeared in to move past another Brookshaw mark.
BSU improves to 4-1-0 all-time against Robert Morris University. The Beavers and Colonials will play at 4:15 CT in game two of the series at RMU Island Sports Center in Pittsburgh in a New Years Eve showdown. BSU has only played on New Years Eve twice prior to tomorrow's game going 0-2-0 with their last loss coming Dec. 31, 2005 to Cornell University.