BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) - The Bemidji State University women's hockey team came up short in an upset bid against top-ranked University of Minnesota Friday night at the Sanford Center, falling 5-1. The loss dropped the Beavers' home record to 0-8-1 on the season with an 0-7-0 mark against conference teams.
The win was Minnesota's 27th in a row dating back to its national championship 2011-12 season and helped the Gopher break the NCAA mark for consecutive road wins with 16. BSU is now 3-12-2 with a 2-10-1-0 ledger in the WCHA, while UM remained undefeated at 19-0-0 with a perfect 13-0-0 mark in the WCHA.
In the first period, the Beavers skated evenly with Minnesota and created some quality scoring chances, but UM goaltender Noora Räty stood tall, as did Beaver netminder Jessica Havel (Sr., Grand Rapids, Minn.) in a scoreless first period in which the Gophers held a slim 9-8 edge in shots.
The teams remained deadlocked until the vaunted Gopher offense got to work just past the midway point of the middle frame.
Freshman Hannah Brandt popped home a Megan Bozek rebound on the Gophers' third power play of the game to make it 1-0 at the 10:22 mark. Less than two minutes later when BSU was on the man advantage, Amanda Kessel, the nation's leading scorer hit freshman defenseman Lee Stecklein with a cross-crease pass and Stecklein tapped home a one-timer to pad the Minnesota lead.
The Gophers scored their third goal in a 3:56 span when Kessel picked up her 50th point of the season by setting up a Meghan Lorence goal.
In the third, Minnesota continued to pull away when Bozek potted her ninth goal of the season on a blast from the point. Before the final frame was halfway over, UM's Becky Kortum capped the her team's scoring to make it 5-0.
BSU got on the scoreboard at the 16:32 mark by scoring a gritty goal from sophomore Kristin Huber (So., Kelowna, B.C.), her first marker since Oct. 19 in a 1-0 win over then No. 6/9 Wisconsin. Natasha Kostenko (So., Fannystelle, Manitoba) earned her second assist of the season on the play.
Havel tied a career-high with 29 saves of 34 shots, while Huber's goal prevented Räty's eighth shutout of the year.
The two teams will meet again Saturday in the last game of the calendar year for both squads. Minnesota now leads the all-time series 49-4-6.