WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Gophers push past Beavers for 4-1 win
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State women’s hockey team held No. 3/4 Minnesota to one goal through the opening 40 minutes before a trio of third-period goals sealed a 4-1 win for the Gophers on Friday night at the Sanford Center.
“I thought Minnesota played extremely well,” BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said. “I thought particularly they defended very well, they managed the puck very well. They won a lot of stick battles. There was no easy ice. We just couldn’t get anything going towards the net.”
The Beavers (14-14-3, 8-11-2-0 WCHA) trailed only 1-0 entering the final frame. Lauren Bench made 34 saves to keep the game from getting out of hand. Junior forward Lydia Passolt notched the Beavers’ lone goal to cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third period, only to allow two scores in the final eight minutes.
“Obviously Lauren played well for us,” Scanlan said. “(She) kept it closer and you’re within a shot going into the third period. We made a nice play to get back to a one-goal game at 2-1, but they made a couple plays down in the end.”
“I thought we had them in the first period and in the second,” Passolt added. “But I think we need to limit turnovers tomorrow against them and shoot more pucks.”
Momentarily, it appeared as though the Beavers had taken a 1-0 lead early in the second period.
Lindsey Featherstone redirected a shot up front past Sydney Scobee with 18:40 to go. The goal was waved off, however, after officials reviewed the play and determined it was played by a high stick.
Only three minutes later, it was instead Minnesota (22-5-3, 14-5-2-1 WCHA) who took a one-goal lead. Grace Zumwinkle wristed a shot from the slot that caromed directly to Alex Woken for the rebound goal with 15:50 to play in the stanza.
Passolt was sprung for a partial breakaway late in the frame, but was denied by Scobee, who finished with 15 saves for the night.
Woken extended the lead by threading a shot past a defender and Bench at the 6:56 mark of the third for her second goal of the game.
Passolt skated across the low slot and hit the upper right corner of the cage, cutting the Gophers’ lead to 2-1 with 11:09 to play.
Madeline Wethington restored a two-goal lead for Minnesota with 7:31 remaining. The blueliner scored from the left circle on a screened Bench.
Emily Oden iced the game with her goal off the rush in the final two minutes.
The special-teams units got a break Friday as the game ended without a penalty called on either team.
Bemidji State now trails fourth-place Minnesota Duluth by six points in the race for the final home-ice seed for the first round of the WCHA Playoffs. UMD defeated Ohio State 5-4 in overtime Friday.
The Beavers will honor the team’s six seniors as part of Senior Day festivities following the 3:07 p.m. regular-season home finale Saturday.
“We said let’s keep a positive attitude,” Passolt said. “No matter what, let’s just have a good day because it’s Senior Day, and it’s their day. But we’re all going to come out hard, and, for sure, we’re going to bounce back.”
No. 3/4 Minnesota 4, Bemidji State 1
UM 0 1 3 -- 4
BSU 0 0 1 -- 1
First period -- No scoring.
Second period -- 1, UM, Woken (Zumwinkle, Heise), 4:10.
Third period -- 2, UM, Woken (A. Potomak, Oden), 6:56; 3, BSU, Passolt (Halluska, Radke), 8:51; 4, UM, Wethington (Oden, S. Potomak), 12:29; 5, UM, Oden (Zumwinkle, S. Potomak), 18:07.
Goalies (saves-shots) -- BSU, Bench (34-38); UM, Scobee (15-16).