BEMIDJI, Minn. - The Bemidji State University women's hockey team fell to No. 2 University of Minnesota, 4-3, Saturday afternoon in the regular season finale. The Beavers (13-19-2, 10-12-2 WCHA) were swept in the series finale against the No. 2 Gophers (29-4-1, 19-4-1 WCHA) and earned the fifth-seed in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. Bemidji State will travel to University of Minnesota Duluth March 1-3 for a best-of-three series to determine a trip to the WCHA Final Faceoff.
It would be the Beavers who would strike first in the game when junior Abby Halluska scored just 38 seconds after the opening faceoff. BSU held the Gophers scoreless through most of the first period but Grace Zumwinkle evened the score with just 3:27 left in the frame to head to the first intermission knotted at one.
Minnesota dominated play in the second period and scored two goals just 13 seconds apart at 6:03 and 6:16 to take a 3-1 lead. Emily Oden started the scoring for the Gophers while Taylor Heise extended the lead to two just seconds later. The second period would end with the Gophers holding the two-goal lead.
Minnesota added an insurance goal at 5:47 of the third period off the stick of Amy Potomak. Bemidji State didn't give up however, and 2:32 later, junior Haley Mack scored her second goal in four games since returning from injury to pull the Beavers within two. The score would go unchanged until late in the third period when BSU pulled goaltender Kerigan Dowhy in favor of the extra attacker with two minutes remaining. Just seven seconds later, Halluska batted in a rebound for her second goal of the game and gave BSU a chance to even the score with 1:53 remaining. The Beavers would pull Dowhy again when played entered the offensive zone and BSU had a flurry of chances with seconds remaining but goaltender Sydney Scobee and the Gophers defense didn't falter and hung on for the 4-3 victory.
Minnesota would learn after the game that its three-points earned them the WCHA's regular season championship after Ohio State University went to a shootout with No. 1 University of Wisconsin.
Bemidji State went 0-for-1 on its lone power play of the game while its penalty kill held Minnesota scoreless on its lone chance of the game as well.
Dowhy earned the loss in net for the Beavers and falls to 4-9-0 after stopping 23-of-27 shots in her first start since Feb. 2.
On a night where BSU honored its seniors Melissa Hunt and Emily Bergland, Bergland earned two assists and had three shots in the game while Hunt was even on the ice and blocked one shot.
The WCHA Playoffs will begin next weekend and the fifth-seeded Beavers will travel to fourth-seed Minnesota Duluth for a best-of-three series at AMSOIL Arena.