WOMEN'S COLLEGE HOCKEY: BSU finds energy in 3-1 win over MSU
BEMIDJI -- Playing its 17th game in nine weeks, the Bemidji State women's hockey team might have looked a bit gassed during Friday afternoon's WCHA tilt with Minnesota State.
BEMIDJI - Playing its 17th game in nine weeks, the Bemidji State women’s hockey team might have looked a bit gassed during Friday afternoon’s WCHA tilt with Minnesota State.
The sixth-ranked Beavers haven’t had a weekend off yet this season, and following a two-game sweep at the hands of Minnesota in Minneapolis, BSU needed to find a way to overcome that fatigue to beat the Mavericks.
“Nine weeks in a row, in the WCHA, is a very hard thing to do,” BSU sophomore defender Alexis Joyce said. “Everyone is coming in for blood every single week so there is no weekend off.”
Joyce ended up scoring the game-winner, and Kristin Huber and Summer Thibodeau also added goals as the Beavers dug deep to secure a gritty 3-1 win at the Sanford Center.
“It was a workman-type game for us,” BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said. “We came out with good tempo. Sometimes on a Friday afternoon game, you never know. And coming off a difficult weekend at Minnesota, I was happy with our tempo and how we were playing the game.”
The Beavers (11-4-2, 8-4-1 WCHA) had a solid pace early, and it let to their first goal, which came off the sticks of senior forwards Huber and Hanna Moher.
Moher fired a nice no-look centering pass towards Huber, in the slot in front of MSU goaltender Brianna Quade. Huber took a shot, got her own rebound then beat Quade to make it 1-0 just seven minutes into the game.
Huber and Moher’s line - which also includes sophomore Thibodeau - combined for two of BSU’s three goals, and each skater on the line had a point.
“That line was really good for us,” Scanlan said. “Hubes was a dominant player all night for us, using her size and strength and reach. Hanna had her feet moving, and Summer is always hard on pucks.”
Although the Beavers outshot the Mavericks 30-14 in the game - and 19-8 in the first two periods combined - MSU (2-12-1, 0-11-0 WCHA) kept it a one-goal game until well into the third period. Part of that had to do with the Mavericks’ solid penalty-killing, which held BSU to 0-for-5 on the power play for the afternoon. That included a 90-second 5-on-3 chance 10 minutes into the second period that BSU couldn’t convert.
“Mankato just played extremely well, their goalie was really good,” Scanlan said. “We got shut out on the power play, but I thought we were able to create some momentum there. Credit Mankato, they battled hard and that’s why the game was 1-0 for as long as it was.”
Joyce made it a two-goal game seven minutes into the third, when she got a feed from Whitney Wivoda and her wrist shot knuckled its way through traffic to make it 2-0.
The Beavers would need that two-goal cushion, as Amanda Conway scored MSU’s goal on an impressive individual effort when she split the BSU defense and beat them all to sneak one past BSU junior goalie Brittni Mowat, who finished the night with 13 saves on 14 shots.
“That player made a nice play on their goal, it was a good individual effort by her, but other than that I thought we did a good job of limiting their quality chances,” Scanlan said.
“Conway’s a great player…. she made me look silly so she deserves all the credit in the world on that goal,” Joyce added. “They may not have got as many chances as they thought they deserved today but I promise you they’ll come out tomorrow and have those chances. They’re a good team, even if their record supposedly doesn’t show it.”
MSU kept the Beavers off the scoreboard for as long as possible, until they pulled Quade for the extra attacker with 1:20 to play. Thibodeau scored the empty-net goal for BSU seven seconds later and the Beavers held on for the victory.
The teams return to the ice at 2:07 p.m. Saturday for the series finale. After that, the Beavers will be off next weekend - their first break all season.
“I told the group that it’s the ninth week in a row,” Scanlan said. “I know our energy level tanks are getting down there, but we have to summon it up one more time. It’s three really important points. We want to give ourselves the best opportunity to take advantage of this.
“In order to do that we have to come ready to play. We can’t sit back, we can’t allow that thought process, that we’re getting a break here, to creep in. We have to take care of business tomorrow.”
Bemidji State 3, Minnesota State 1
MSU 0 0 1 - 1
BSU 1 0 2 - 3
First Period - 1, BSU, Huber (Moher), 7:01. Penalties - None.
Second Period - No scoring. Penalties - MSU, Kilduff (Body Checking), 1:42; BSU, Miller (Body Checking), 8:03; MSU, Fiegert (Body Checking), 10:19; MSU, Coleman (Slashing), 10:49; BSU, Kilduff (Body Checking), 19:25.
Third Period - 2, BSU, Joyce (Wivoda), 7:06; 3, MSU, Conway (Johnson), 11:17; 4, BSU, Thibodeau (Tougas), 18:47, EN. Penalties - MSU, Antony (Tripping), 15:13.