Bemidji State Forces Game Three With 2-1 Win Over Minnesota
Junior forward Ciscely Nelson scores game-winning goal for Beavers

Junior forward Ciscely Nelson scored the game-winning goal for the Beavers
Prd Time  Team Score Type Scored By Assists
1st 6:15  BMJ1-0 EV Summer Thibodeau (4)Ciscely Nelson/2, Lauren Miller/9
2nd 19:32  MIN1-1 SH Sarah Potomak (18)Cara Piazza/7
3rd 11:09  BMJ2-1 EV GW Ciscely Nelson (4)Madison Hutchinson/11
Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Bemidji State  1012
Minnesota  0101
Shots on Goal 1st 2nd 3rd SOG
Bemidji State  711523
Minnesota  11121134
Team Stats and Records  PP PIM SHGF
Bemidji State (12-19-3)  0/4 1/2 0
Minnesota (24-6-5)  0/1 4/8 1
Bemidji State Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Brittni Mowat (W, 11-18-3)60:001 11111133
Minnesota Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Sidney Peters (L, 23-6-4)58:432 611421
Empty Net1:170     

MINNEAPOLIS - No. 2 seed Minnesota dropped a 2-1 decision to No. 7 seed Bemidji State at Ridder Arena Saturday evening to force a game three in this weekend's WCHA First Round series.

"We're disappointed with the result," head coach Brad Frost said. "We took too many penalties, couldn't put the puck in the net. Bemidji did a great job blocking shots, making it real tough and making it a great game. Keeping it 1-1 as long as they did, they found a way to get a break and win the game. We will have to be much better tomorrow, as our season probably hangs in the balance."

Bemidji State (12-19-3, 7-18-3-1 WCHA) received goals from Summer Thibodeau and Ciscely Nelson along with 33 saves from Brittni Mowat in the Beavers' second win over Minnesota this season.

Minnesota (24-6-5, 19-4-5-3 WCHA) took four penalties to the Beavers' one, and although the Gophers held BSU scoreless on four power plays, special teams swung the game's momentum in the visitors' favor.

"The penalties kind of dragged us on, but we know thats something we need to focus on again tomorrow," Sarah Potomak said. "I'm confident that we will be good tomorrow. Anytime we have to kill that many penalties off in a row, it just makes you tired, just kind-of frustrating sometimes. We killed them off well and just looking to move past that for tomorrow."

The Beavers got on the board first when Thibodeau scored her fourth goal of the season off a feed from Nelson and Lauren Miller at the 6:15 mark of the first period.

The Gophers responded in the final minute of the second period when Sarah Potomak evened the score with a shorthanded goal, her 18th tally of the season. Cara Piazza picked up an assist on the play, and the teams headed into the second intermission tied up 1-1.

However, Bemidji State took back the lead with a goal by Nelson at the midway through the third period. She netted her fourth of the season off a pass from Madison Hutchinson at the 11:09 mark, and it proved to be the game-winner.

Minnesota outshot the Beavers, 34-23, for the game, but could not solve Mowat for the second equalizer.

"We just have to get those second chances," Potomak said. "She (Mowat) makes unbelievable first saves. We know we have to get to the net and be strong and bear down on the rebounds."

The teams will meet in game three of this weekend's series at 4 p.m. CT Sunday afternoon at Ridder Arena with a trip to next weekend's WCHA Final Face-off on the line.

"We obviously have to play desperate hockey and continue to get pucks to the net," Frost said. "We need to score. We defended pretty well; we need to find a way to get that puck in the net ... Our big-time players have to be big-time players."

Top-seeded Wisconsin (29-2-4) and No. 3 seed Minnesota Duluth (24-5-5) have already secured their places at the WCHA Final Face-off as the Badgers swept No. 8 seed Minnesota State and the Bulldogs swept No. 6 seed St. Cloud State.

No. 4 seed North Dakota and No. 5 seed Ohio State will play game three of their best-of-three series Sunday, joining the Gophers and Beavers in requiring three games, to round out the WCHA tournament field.

The 2017 WCHA Final Face-off returns to Ridder Arena next weekend, and all-tournament ticket packages are now on sale. Two semifinal games are scheduled for 2:07 p.m. and 5:07 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 4 with the semifinal winners advancing to the WCHA championship game at 2:07 p.m. CT on Sunday, March 5, to play for the league's postseason trophy and an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.