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Bemidji State players celebrate after scoring their first goal of the game in the second period during Saturday night's playoff game against St. Cloud State at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud. BSU won 2-1, forcing a series deciding game today. Photo for the Pioneer/Ross LaDue, BSU Athletic Media relations
Bemidji State players celebrate after scoring their first goal of the game in the second period during Saturday night's playoff game against St. Cloud State at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud. BSU won 2-1, forcing a series deciding game today. Photo for the Pioneer/Ross LaDue, BSU Athletic Media relations

BSU women end playoff streak, top St. Cloud 2-1

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- When the opponent scored first against the Bemidji State women's hockey team this season the Beavers had a knack of walking away without a win.

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Not anymore.

After trailing 1-0 after the first, the Beavers battled back and hosted a a 2-1 win over the St. Cloud State Huskies, marking the first win after failing to get on the board first.

The win was also the team's first in playoff action, snapping a 14-game losing streak in the postseason.

"We played three periods and we didn't let up after the first goal," said head coach Steve Sertich. "We had one of our best second periods of the year. Then we finished strong and figured out a way to score."

The first period was completely different from the night before with the Beavers jumping out with a lot more energy. BSU had a hand-full of chances in front of the Husky net, but SCSU goalie Ashley Nixon turned them aside.

With Bemidji State out-shooting SCSU, the Beavers looked to leave the period with a scoreless tie. However, the Huskies scored their fourth goal of the series with 15 seconds remaining in the period. The puck was shot in from the point forcing Zuzana Tomcikova to make the first save, but SCSU's Felicia Nelson was there, picked up the rebound and found the back of the net.

Undeterred by the score, the Beavers came out in the second with more energy than the first, out-shooting the Huskies 13-6 in the period. Bemidji State had to go on the penalty kill early in the period, but the Beavers were up to the challenge and shutdown the St. Cloud State advantage.

Just like the first period, BSU had multiple scoring chances and Annie Bauerfeld finally ended the scoreless streak that has haunted the Beavers for the past two games.

Erin Johnson received the puck in front of the net from Montana Vichorek from the point. Johnson's shot was turned away by Nixon. However, Johnson was pushed into the crease by a Husky defender which blocked Nixon from playing the rebound.

Bauerfeld picked up the loose puck and found twine for her eighth time this season. The referees reviewed the goal, but since Johnson was pushed into the crease by Nixon's teammate there was no interference on the play, resulting in a tie game.

The Beavers rode their momentum from the end of the second period into the third. BSU forward Jamie Hatheway scored the second goal of her career at the 5:46 mark to give the Beavers their first lead of the series.

Hatheway was sitting in front of the net by herself when she received the puck from Vichorek in the corner. Hatheway kept the puck on the ice and shot it far side beating Nixon's right leg. Bauerfeld was also credited for an assist.

Just under six minutes left in the game BSU was called for tripping, giving the potent Husky power-play unit another man advantage.

Tomcikova was forced to make a scrambling save off a jumble in front of the net during the penalty kill. After the save St. Cloud State was called for holding, but the four-on-four wouldn't last long as another Beaver headed to the sin bin, this time for interference.

The resulting play would give St. Cloud State a five-on-four power play for 25 seconds under the three minute mark in the period. After the flurry of penalties, both sides would enter full strength hockey with two minutes remaining.

Nixon left the ice to give the Huskies an extra attacked with 37 seconds left in the game. The puck went out of play with 10 seconds left and St. Cloud State used the break to call a timeout.

St. Cloud State got a shot on goal, but Tomickova covered it with 1.2 seconds lef. On the ensuing face off to her right, the Huskies got a shot on goal off the draw forcing Tomcikova to make a desperation save as time expired, giving the Beavers their first-ever playoff win.

Tomcikova had a great night in net making 21 saves to record her ninth win this season. Nixon made 30 saves for the Huskies.

The win for Tomcikova is the first after losing seven games straight, which included the six Team Slovakia lost in the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Sunday's game between St. Cloud State and Bemidji State will be the only game played in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association First-Round Playoffs after No. 1 seed Minnesota Duluth, No. 2 seed Minnesota and No. 5 seed Ohio State swept their respective series.

Game time for today is set for 7:07 p.m. at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.

A win for the Beavers would advance them to a first-ever trip to the WCHA Final Faceoff.

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