BEMIDJI, Minn.(Sanford Center) - The Bemidji State University women's hockey team built a 2-0 second-period lead over the University of Minnesota Duluth at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn. Saturday night, but the Bulldogs tallied a goal in the second and three more in the final 20 of regulation to seal a 4-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) victory. With the loss, BSU slips to 3-10-2 with a 2-8-1-0 conference ledger, while UMD improves to 6-8-1 and 5-7-1-0 in the league.
Minnesota Duluth, which dressed only 17 skaters in Saturday's contest, now has a 54-3-2 edge in the all-time series against the Beavers after the teams split four games a season ago.
The first period was lacked flow-there were 24 whistles in the opening 20 minutes-but the Beavers carried the play despite a scoreless end to the frame and held a 17-5 edge in shots. UMD goaltender Sofia Carlstrom was forced to make several saves from shots in tight, but the freshman from Germany was up to the task.
BSU's strong effort in the first carried over to the second period and the Beavers were able to strike pay dirt early in the middle stanza thanks to some solid play by a trio of newcomers.
Working on the team's second power play of the night, freshman Ivana Bilic (D, Coquitlam, B.C.) fired a slapshot through traffic to beat Carlstrom and give BSU a 1-0 lead. The goal was the second in three games for Bilic, who went back and forth passing high in the zone with Sadie Lundquist (Sr., F, Cloquet, Minn.) before shooting.
Lundquist, who has seven points in her last four games, is now tied with MacKenzie Thurston (Sr., F, Ottawa, Ont.) for the team lead in points with 10.
The Beavers doubled their lead when freshmen Hanna Moher (F, Milton, Ontario) and Megan Lushanko (F, Chisago City, Minn.) burst out of their own zone with speed after sophomore Alex Citrowske (So., F, Savage, Minn.) dished the puck to Moher. After entering the zone on a two-on-one, Moher slid the puck through the lone Bulldog defender to Lushanko, who found the back of the net for the first time as a Beaver, beating Carlstrom through the five hole.
Citrowske and Moher both recorded their first career assists on the play. It was the first point in 14 career games for Citrowske, who did score a third-period, game-tying goal against the Minnesota Whitecaps in a 3-2 overtime exhibition win in the Nov. 1 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Face Off Classic in Eveleth, Minn. a month ago.
Carlstrom was taken out of the game in favor of fellow first-year goalie Kayla Black after BSU's two goals in a 33-second span.
UMD looked to have gotten on the board at the 10:25 mark when Venessa Thibault buried a cross-crease pass from Bridget Lacquette, but after review it was disallowed. The Bulldogs made up for the calling back of the goal when Pernilla Winberg beat BSU netminder Jessica Havel (Sr., Grand Rapids, Minn.) with 6:38 to play in the second.
In the third, the Bulldogs came out strong and wasted little time in tying the score when Emma Stauber shelved a Jamie Kenyon rebound from the left circle after Havel kicked aside Kenyon's initial offering 2:53 in. Zoe Hickel gave UMD the lead less than five minutes later on the power play knocking home a puck from the middle of a scrum in front of the crease. Jenna McParland iced the game with an empty-netter in the final minute.
The Beavers had previously pulled their goalie in five games in 2012-13 and hadn't surrendered a goal. BSU finished the night with a 41-27 advantage in shots. After Carlstrom stopped 18 of 20 shots for UMD, Black earned the win by blanking Bemidji State on 21 shots on goal. Havel finished with three goals against on 26 shots. She was aided by fellow senior Molly Arola (Sr., F, Walker, Minn.), who led all skaters with six blocked shots on the night.
The two teams will finish their series Sunday afternoon at 4:07 at the Sanford Center. After finishing play against the Bulldogs, BSU will host the top-ranked and defending national champion University of Minnesota next Friday and Saturday to complete the first half of the season.