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WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Beavers penalty kill struggles lead to loss

DULUTH -- The Bemidji State women’s hockey team took a hit on its penalty kill percentage this weekend.

After Minnesota Duluth went 2-for-2 on the power play Friday night, the Bulldogs added three more powerplay goals Saturday en route to a 3-2 win to split the series with the Beavers at AMSOIL Arena.

Ashton Bell was responsible for two of UMD’s goals, the first coming at the 4:15 mark of the first period. Catherine Daoust took a shot from the point that trickled through traffic, and the puck was heading toward BSU goalie Lauren Bench, but Bell directed it into the net with a one-handed poke.

Bell’s goal tied the game at 1-1 after Beavers sophomore Abby Halluska opened the score two minutes in on a rebound.

At the 8:01 mark, Bulldogs forward Ryleigh Houston gave UMD a 2-1 edge by the first intermission.

BSU sophomore Haley Mack, who assisted Halluska’s goal, scored one of her own early in the second period to tie the game at two apiece.

She flew down the left side of the offensive zone, and her shot deflected off to the right side, where Bulldogs defenseman McKenzie Revering mishandled it. Mack then stole it back and quickly deposited it behind goaltender Jessica Convery and into the net.

But at the 11:28 mark, Bell buried her second of the game for the eventual game winner.

The Beavers were unable to answer the bell in the third period, even after calling timeout and pulling Bench for a sixth skater with 51 seconds remaining.

UMD edged Bemidji State 36-35 in shots on goal, but the key difference in the game was Duluth’s success on the power play. Five of the Bulldogs’ six goals on the weekend came on the man-advantage.

The win lifts UMD to 10-12-1 overall and 5-9-1 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while BSU fell to 12-12-2 overall and 7-8-1 in the WCHA. The series split brings the Beavers back to their three-point lead over Minnesota Duluth in fourth place in the conference standings.

Bemidji State will look to remedy their penalty kill before next weekend’s series against, arguably, the best team in the nation in Wisconsin. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, and 3:07 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Sanford Center.

Minnesota Duluth 3, Bemidji State 2

UMD 2 1 0 -- 3

BSU 1 1 0 -- 2

First Period -- 1, BSU, Halluska (Mack, Radke) 2:01; 2, UMD (PP), Bell (Daoust, Brodt) 4:15; 3, UMD (PP), Houston (Rogge, Lowenhielm) 8:01.

Second Period -- 4, BSU, Mack (Unassisted) 5:51; 5, UMD, Bell (Elmes, Daoust) 11:28.

Third Period -- No Scoring.

Goaltending (Shots-Saves) -- BSU, Bench (36-33); UMD, Convery (35-33).