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WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Minnesota tops BSU 5-0 to finish sweep

BEMIDJI – Bemidji State once again had trouble with top-ranked Minnesota.

The Gophers improved to a perfect 20-0-0 (and 14-0-0 in the WCHA) after defeating the Beavers 5-0 in their Western Collegiate Hockey Association game Saturday night at the Sanford Center.

The loss drops BSU to 3-13-2 with a 2-11-1-0 league record. BSU is now 0-9-1 at home on the season with an 0-8-0 mark against conference teams.

Bemidji State’s Sadie Lundquist passes the puck on the boards during BSU’s 5-0 loss to Minnesota Saturday. BSU photo services

The win was Minnesota’s 28th in a row dating back to its national championship 2011-12 season; and the shutout was the team’s 10th of the year.

Senior goaltender Noora Räty has eight shutouts and now has 34 in her career.

BSU netminder Jessica Havel turned aside a career-high 35 Gopher shots to keep the Beavers in the game.

The Beavers came out strong initially and posted the first three shots of the game, but Minnesota took control and unleashed the period’s final 10 shots and didn’t allow BSU to test Räty for over 20 minutes of game time.

Senior defenseman Mira Jalosuo ended the 0-0 stalemate with a power-play goal at the 17:12 mark of the first by redirecting a Rachel Ramsey shot from the point past Havel. Gopher junior Amanda Kessel, the NCAA’s leading scorer, doubled her team’s lead just 2:08 later by sneaking a backhander into the net from in tight.

The Gophers ratcheted up the offense in the middle stanza, but Havel stood on her head and stopped 14 of 15 Minnesota offerings in the frame. Kessel’s second goal of the afternoon, a power-play marker, was the only goal Havel conceded and BSU trailed 3-0 after 40 minutes.

The three-goal margin held until the final five minutes of the third period when Becky Kortum potted UM’s fourth goal of the night and Kessel completed a hat trick, the fourth three-goal performance by a Beaver opponent this season, with 2:27 to play.

BSU finished the game with 15 shots on goal, its lowest total since it registered just 13 in falling 5-1 at Providence Oct. 6 in the second game of the season. Lundquist led Bemidji State with four shots, while Kessel piled up 11. The Beavers are now 2-7-1 on the year against teams with recognition in the national rankings at the time of the game.

Currently on a five-game losing skid, Bemidji State will not get the chance to get back in the win column until it plays at St. Cloud State Jan. 4-5 to open the second half of the season. The Beavers will return home the following weekend when they host Minnesota State Mankato.

Minnesota 5, Bemidji State 0

Minnesota             2    1    2 – 5

Bemidji State        0    0    0 – 0

First Period – 1, Minn, Jaluso (Ramsey, Terry), 17:12, PP; 2, Minn, Kessel 1 (Brandt, Kortum), 19:20.

Second Period – 3, Minn, Kessel 2 (Stecklein, Bona), 2:55, PP.

Third Period – 4, Minn, Kortum (Bona, Davis), 15:53; 5, Minn, Kessel 3 (Brandt, Lorence), 17:33.

Shots On Goal – Minnesota 10-15-15—40; Bemidji State 3-7-5—15. Goalies – Minnesota, Raty (15-15), Bemidji State, Havel (40-35). Penalties-Minutes – Minnesota 5-10; Bemidji State 5-10. Power Plays – Minnesota 2-for-5; Bemidji State 0-for-5.