The Bemidji State women's hockey team showed no signs of road weariness Friday night when it played at the John Glas Fieldhouse for the first time since Dec. 2.
In fact, the streaking Beavers scored in the first minute of their game against North Dakota, added two more later in the opening period and went on to a 4-1 victory in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play.
Bemidji is 5-1-1 in its last seven outings and is quickly improving its chances of playing at home in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. The Beavers are 9-11-3 on the season and 7-8-2 in the league.
"Our first period was really good," said BSU first-year coach Steve Sertich. "We scored in different ways and our pace was good. Things kind of got out of hand after that with all of the penalties, but we're finding ways to win.
We're doing a lot of little things better than we did early in the season."
BSU goaltender Emily Brookshaw turned away 32 of 33 shots.
It was the fifth straight game in which the junior from Webster, Wis., allowed only one goal. The result has been four wins and a tie.
"One goal, that's OK with me," Brookshaw said. "Early in the year it seemed impossible for me to keep the opponent to one goal."
It took the Beavers only 49 seconds to get on the scoreboard. Jenn Sadler's one-timer from close range on a pass from Nikki Eckebrecht sent a quick message to the visitors from Grand Forks.
Tara Hiscock's tip-in just four seconds into a power play gave Bemidji a 2-0 lead midway through the first period.
Eckebrecht got the faceoff back to Helena Tageson at the right point, and Tageson's low, hard slapshot was redirected by Hiscock.
Two minutes later, BSU went ahead 3-0 when Mandy Bambrough's screened shot from the point fluttered past Sioux goaltender Brittany Kirkham.
North Dakota outshot the Beavers 12-4 in the scoreless second period, with the help of three power plays.
Brookshaw was equal to the task, coming up with a number of stellar saves to keep her shutout hopes alive. One of the Sioux power plays was a 5-on-3 for two full minutes.
"The shots kind of came in flurries tonight," Brookshaw said. "There was one point in the second period when I had six or seven shots in a row."
The Sioux finally got one past Brookshaw midway through the third. Melissa Jaques got past a BSU defender with a nifty pass to herself off the boards and skated in alone on the left side. Her hard wrist shot found the back of the net.
Kate Robinson's empty-net goal for the Beavers with 1:16 remaining capped the scoring. Kelly Hart assisted on the goal, moving into a tie with Amber Frykland for the school record for career assists with 63.
Brookshaw and her penalty-killing teammates kept the Sioux scoreless in 10 power-play chances.
"I can't thank our penalty killers enough for what they've been doing in front of me," Brookshaw said.
Added Sertich: "Our special teams have gotten progressively better. And Brookshaw has been outstanding he last 3-4 series. When we've gotten ourselves in trouble she has come up with big saves for us."
The Beavers will go for the season sweep over UND today when the teams face off at 2:07 p.m. at the Glas. BSU won last month in Grand Forks by scores of 3-1 and 2-1. Fans are invited to skate with the Beavers after today's game.
North Dakota - 0 0 1 -- 1
Bemidji State - 3 0 1 -- 4
First Period - 1, BSU, Jenn Sadler (Nikki Eckebrecht), :49. 2, BSU, Tara Hiscock (Helena Tageson, Eckebrecht),
10:55 (pp). 3, BSU, Mandy Bambrough (Jessica Pullar), 12:50. Penalties - Ashley Leopold, BSU (obstruction interference), 3:07. Brooke Collins, BSU (crosschecking), 4:21. Ashley Paulson, UND (crosschecking), 10:51. Christy Carlson, UND (crosschecking), 13:12. Alyssa Johnson, UND (slashing), 17:26. Christey Allen, UND (hooking), 18:15.
Collins, BSU (hooking), 18:48.
Second Period - No scoring. Penalties - Leopold, BSU (holding), 3:38. Monica Rawlings, BSU (body checking), 3:38. Jackie Robertson, BSU (crosschecking), 4:54. Jamie LeDuc, BSU (obstruction interference), 14:40 Third Period - 4, UND, Melissa Jaques (Johnson), 8:21. 5, BSU, Kate Robinson (Kelly Hart), 18:44 (en). Penalties - LeDuc, BSU (hooking), 2:14. Eckebrecht, BSU (highsticking), 5:24. M. Rawlings, BSU (tripping), 10:09.
Lisa Kissick, BSU (slashing), 12:17. Alexia Gagnon Laplante, UND (hooking), 13:46.
Shots - UND 11-12-10--33. Bemidji State 14-4-9--27. Saves - UND, Brittany Kirkham (27 shots-23 saves). Bemidji State, Emily Brookshaw (33 shots-32 saves). Power play - UND 0 for 10, Bemidji State 1 for 4. Referee - Leah Wrazidlo. Assistant referees - Tom Jerome, Dave Spivey. A - 245.