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WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Passolt strikes twice in 4-1 BSU win

BSU sophomore Lydia Passolt, left, celebrates her second goal in the first period against Minnesota Duluth on Friday at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 3
BSU sophomore Paige Beebe (18) fires a shot toward Minnesota Duluth goalie Maddie Rooney on Friday at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 3
BSU senior Emily Bergland (9) fights for puck possession against Minnesota Duluth on Friday at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)3 / 3

BEMIDJI -- Lydia Passolt netted a pair of first-period goals en route to a 4-1 win for the Bemidji State women’s hockey team over Minnesota Duluth Friday afternoon at the Sanford Center.

The victory moves the teams into a tie for fourth place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings, which is the final home ice playoff spot.

The Beavers (8-13-1, 5-7-1-0 WCHA) never trailed following the sophomore’s two goals.

The Bulldogs (7-10-2, 4-7-2-2 WCHA) got a goal back on the power play in the second period, but goalie Lauren Bench was perfect the rest of the way.

“We played a real solid game against a very good, very dangerous Duluth team,” said head coach Jim Scanlan. “I thought we got good performances from all of our lines. I thought all six defensemen did a great job, and certainly Lauren Bench was outstanding.

“It’s a league game, second half of the year, we’re at home. It’s just a real important series to get off on a good start like this.”

Passolt’s goals came just 2 minutes, 5 seconds apart. The forward backhanded a shot five-hole past goalie Maddie Rooney for the opening goal of the afternoon.

Barely two minutes later, Passolt collected a rebound and buried it for her second goal of the first period.

“We worked hard going in the zone,” Passolt said. “We moved the puck fast, we moved it quick. We moved Rooney around, which helped too. And I think with our line we just worked really hard and we got those shots that we needed.”

The Beavers gave up a rare power-play goal in the second period when Ashton Bell scored on the advantage to make it 2-1. However, Kiki Radke scored on a rebound minutes later to restore a two-goal BSU lead.

“That was a real big goal by Kiki there,” Scanlan said. “Certainly they had the momentum after the goal.

“Just a great play by Melissa Hunt to get the puck to the net. So often the pucks get blocked that they don’t even get there, but she was able to get it to the net. Now, we created some chaos and Kiki was real tenacious there on the back door and got it in for us.”

The Bulldogs were held at bay throughout the third period.

Ellie Moser skated to a breakaway goal with 2:40 to play, putting the final touches on the 4-1 win.

Bench made 29 saves on 30 shots in the win to improve to 4-6-1. Rooney saved 28 of 32 shots and dropped to 5-10-2.

The teams will meet again at 1:07 p.m. today at the Sanford Center. The winner will gain an edge for the final WCHA home ice playoff spot.

“It’s an opportunity to move into fourth place,” Scanlan said. “We know they’re going to be better but we think we can be better too. It should an exciting hockey game tomorrow afternoon.”

Bemidji State 4, Minnesota Duluth 1

UMD 0 1 0 -- 1

BSU 2 1 1 -- 4

First period -- 1, BSU, Passolt (Moser, DeGeorge), 13:55; 2, BSU, Passolt (DeGeorge), 16:00.

Second period -- 3, UMD, Bell (Rogge, Houston), 4:49, PP; 4, BSU, Radke (Featherstone, Hunt), 9:46.

Third period -- 5, BSU, Moser (unassisted), 17:20.

Goalies (saves-shots) -- BSU, Bench (29-30); UMD, Rooney (28-32).

Austin Monteith

Austin Monteith is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He is an Illinois native and a Butler University graduate. Follow him on Twitter @amonteith92.

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