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Women's hockey: Beavers edge closer to Buckeyes with 4-1 win

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sports Bemidji, 56619
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BEMIDJI — The BSU women’s hockey team knew it needed a sweep of Ohio State this weekend to control its own destiny for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.

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The Buckeyes were just four points ahead of the Beavers for fifth place in the WCHA standings coming into Friday afternoon’s game.

However, the Beavers also knew they could ill-afford to let their emotions get the best of them like they did last time they took on the Buckeyes. The teams had a scuffle at the end of their game in November that turned out to be an NCAA record-setting brawl, resulting in 19 game misconduct penalties and suspensions for both teams the next day.

Instead, the Beavers let their offense — and their defense — do the talking.

BSU scored three goals, including a shorthanded tally, and Brittini Mowat made 30 saves as BSU topped Ohio State 4-1 Friday at the Sanford Center. It was BSU’s first win since Jan. 11 and snapped an eight-game winless streak.

“It’s nice to get that energy and positivity going in the locker room,” said BSU forward Kaitlyn Tougas, who scored the shorthanded goal early in the first period. “We needed that, especially at the end scratch here. We’re only a few points down from Ohio so both these games are really important to us. Coach emphasized to us if there’s a time to win, it’s this weekend.”

The Beavers (10-18-3, 7-16-3 WCHA) are now just one point back of the Buckeyes (11-15-5, 6-14-5 WCHA) in the league standings with 24 points. The rematch is today at 2:07 p.m.

A contrast to the melee at the end of their game Nov. 8, both teams kept calm and didn’t allow anything to get out of hand.

The closest the game came to breaking down was when Tess Dusik took a checking from behind penalty midway through the second period.

A few Ohio State players took offense to Dusik’s check and the teams started pushing and shoving but referees and team captains quickly intervened and didn’t let anything get out of hand; Dusik was called for a five-minute major and game misconduct penalty and was ejected.

“We didn’t want the game to get away from us,” BSU head coach Steve Sertich said. “I think the refs did a good job keeping tabs on things.”

The Beavers took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to a shorthanded goal from Tougas and another by Kristine Grenier.

Grenier had taken a hooking penalty 15 minutes in but Tougas bailed her out of it. She won a faceoff in the OSU zone then beat Buckeyes goaltender Lisa Steffes following some deft stickhandling.

“It was awesome to get that,” Grenier said. “We never really expect a shorthanded goal but it kind of got our legs going and gave us some momentum for the rest of the game. So thanks, Tougs.”

Grenier scored a goal of her own soon after leaving the box to give BSU a 2-0 lead at intermission.

In the second period the Buckeyes’ Taylor Kuehl scored on the power play to get OSU on the board and cut BSU’s lead to 2-1.

Dusik’s five-minute major came midway through the period but the disciplined Beavers’ penalty kill only allowed three shots on net.

“We knew what we had to do,” Tougas said. “They changed their power play up a bit and we adapted. I think we only let them have three shots in that entire five minutes, so our defense did well with getting sticks and blocked shots. Mowat also stood on her head a bit to kill that one.

Allie Duellman gave BSU a two-goal cushion late in the middle period when her shot from the point somehow found its way through traffic and into the OSU net with just more than a minute to go.

In the third period BSU outshot the Buckeyes 10-9; Alex Citrowske’s empty-netter with 2 seconds left iced the game.

“I told our team, it’s in our hands,” Sertich said. “If we want to make a run at fifth place we have to get the job done. We’re halfway there so hopefully we can get the job done.”

Bemidji State 4, Ohio State 1

OSU 0 1 0 — 1

BSU 2 1 1 — 4

First Period — 1, BSU, Tougas (Unassisted), 15:12, SH; 2, BSU, Grenier (Wivoda, Dusik), 16:50. Penalties — BSU, Grenier (Hooking), 14:35.

Second Period — 3, OSU, Kuehl (Tarr), 3:00, PP; 4, BSU, Duellman (Tougas, Miller), 18:54. Penalties — BSU, Grenier (Interference), 5:45; OSU, Studler (Body Checking), 5:45; OSU, Kepler (Cross Checking), 6:47; BSU, Dusik (Checking From Behind), 10:59; BSU, Dusik (Game Misconduct), 10:59.

Third Period — 5, BSU, Citrowske (Bilic), 19:58, EN. Penalties — BSU, Ehlert (Tripping), 6:47; OSU, Curtis (Tripping), 14:24.

Shots On Goal — OSU, 7-15-9—31; BSU, 14-4-10—28. Goalies (Shots-Saves) — OSU, Steffes (27-24); BSU, Mowat (31-30). Penalties-Minutes — OSU, 3-6; BSU, 5-21. Power Plays-Opportunities — OSU, 1-for-4; BSU, 5-for-21. Faceoffs — 31-31. Three Stars — 1, Tougas, BSU; 2, Grenier, BSU; 3, Mowat, BSU.

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Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
(218) 333-9772
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