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WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Minnesota State spoils Bemidji State comeback with 4-3 OT win

Bemidji State’s Kaitlyn Tougas (9) celebrates the first of her two goals with Emily Erickson Saturday night at the Sanford Center. Tougas’ third-period goal helped spark a Beavers comeback, but Minnesota State won 4-3 in overtime. Jack Hittinger | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – A spirited third period comeback gave Bemidji State new life against Minnesota State.

Freshman Kaitlyn Tougas scored twice in the third period and Erika Wheelhouse’s backdoor goal with 11.8 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 3-3, helping the Beavers force overtime after trailing 3-0 after two periods.

However, it only took Minnesota State one shot to erase all that hard work. Lauren Zrust’s goal 2:35 into overtime gave Mavericks a 4-3 win Saturday night at the Sanford Center, splitting the two-game WCHA series and snapping BSU’s two-game winning streak.

“We have to take away the positives from tonight,” Wheelhouse said. “It was a great comeback but we’re disappointed we couldn’t finish and get some points.”

 Kaitlyn Tougas (9) and Emily Erickson celebrate a goal. Jack Hittinger photo

Wheelhouse, a senior defenseman from Crookston, had blocked 13 shots in BSU’s 2-0 win Friday night and stopped five MSU shots Saturday before knocking in the game-tying goal late in the third period – her first of the season.

“Basically, coach just said, ‘Throw everything at the net,’” Wheelhouse said. “It was a bit of a greasy goal. Everyone else up there did all the work and I was just standing in the right place at the right time to bring it home.”

Wheelhouse’s score – coming after the Beavers had pulled goaltender Jessica Havel for an extra attacker – wouldn’t have been possible without Tougas’ two tallies midway through the period.

Both Tougas goals, scored at the 8:53 and 14:25 mark, were assisted by Sadie Lundquist. Emily Erickson had an assist on the first tally and also assisted on Wheelhouse’s score, giving all four players two points apiece on the night.

“They were all working their tails off,” BSU head coach Steve Sertich said of the change in the third period. “All of a sudden, we’re winning the races, we’re winning the battles. Lundquist and Erickson are so good at protecting the puck, keeping plays alive if there’s nothing there. Ivana Bilic was outstanding too. We did a great job putting pressure on them.”

It was a gritty comeback for the Beavers (5-15-2, 4-13-1 WCHA), who dominated the Mavericks (9-12-3, 5-10-3-1 WCHA) in Friday night’s game but came out flat to start Saturday.

MSU outshot BSU 10-7 in the first frame and had two goals to show for it – one from Kari Lumberg at 10:26 and another from Emilia Anderson at 14:52.

In the second period the Beavers found some offense but still couldn’t finish. And the Mavericks scored a third goal to add to BSU’s misery when Lauren Barnes scored at the 12:46 mark to make it 3-0.

The Beavers outshot the Mavericks 14-3 in the final frame.

Four minutes in, it appeared Mackenzie Thurston had started BSU’s comeback.

However, video review indicated Thurston kicked the puck into the goal and the score was disallowed.

Each team had two shots in the overtime period but Zrust beat Havel on MSU's second shot of OT to give MSU the victory and the series split.

In all the Beavers outshot the Mavericks 39-27, and Butters made 36 saves for the Mavericks. Havel finished with 23 saves for BSU.

The Beavers return to the ice next week when they travel to Minnesota Duluth for a Friday-Saturday series in Duluth.

Minnesota State 3 0 0 1 – 4

Bemidji State 0 0 3 0 – 3

First Period – 1, MSU, Lundberg (Moteyuna), 10:26; 2, MSU, Andersson (Barnes, Johnson), 14:52. Penalties – MSU, Scholzen (Hooking), 5:44; BSU, Erickson (Cross-Checking), 18:10.

Second Period – 3, MSU, Barnes (Andersson, Nagel), 12:46. Penalties – MSU, Scholzen (Hooking), 10:18.

Third Period – 4, BSU, Tougas 1 (Erickson, Lundquist), 8:53; 5, BSU, Tougas 2 (Lundquist), 14:25; 6, BSU, Wheelhouse (Erickson, Kostenko), 19:48. Penalties – MSU, Lundberg (Cross Checking), 4:11.

Overtime – Zrust (McCann, Andersson), 2:35. Penalties – None.

Goalies – MSU, Butters (39-36); BSU, Havel (27-23).

Shots On Goal – MSU (10-12-3-2=27); BSU (7-16-14-2=39).

Penalties-Minutes – MSU 3-6; BSU, 1-2.

Power Plays – MSU, 0-for-1; BSU 0-for-3.

Jack Hittinger

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 and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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