BEMIDJI STATE SHUTS OUT MINNESOTA STATE, 2-0
Strong defensive performance as Beavers allow just ten shots on goal in victory

Natasha Kostenko scored a goal for the Beavers

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) - The Bemidji State University women's hockey team posted consecutive victories for the first time all season by downing Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) foe Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2-0, Friday night in BSU's first home contest of 2013. With 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Bemidji State stands at 4-14-2 with a 3-12-1-0 mark on league play.

The win was the Beavers' first at home after an 0-9-1 start with an 0-8-0 start in conference play. Bemidji State also finished with a 41-10 advantage in shots. The 10 shots allowed was the least by BSU all season and allowed Jessica Havel (Sr., G, Grand Rapids, Minn.) to post her second career shutout and second blanking in as many games. Erika Wheelhouse (Sr., D, Crookston, Minn.), who had 13 blocked shots, and forward Molly Arola (Sr., Walker, Minn.) led the defensive effort.

As was the case in both of their games last weekend in a two-game split series against St. Cloud State University, the Beavers played through a scoreless first period. Though BSU carried the play and generated offensive zone pressure, it was MSU that came the closest to getting on the board when a Lauren Barnes wrist shot from the blue line made its way through traffic and hit the post.

After 20 minutes, the Beavers had an 8-1 edge in shots. It was BSU's lowest amount of shots on goal conceded in a period all season.

BSU came out flying in the second period and outshot the Mavericks 21-3 in the middle frame. The period's shot total was tied for the second-most the Beavers unleashed in a period all season. Bemidji State had periods with 23 and 21 shots against the University of Maine en route to finishing with 60 shots in a 4-3 loss Nov. 9.

Just past the midway point of regulation at the 10:40 mark of the second, former MSU forward Abby Williams (Sr., Alexandria, Minn.) poked a puck loose in front of Minnesota State goaltender Danielle Butters and Natasha Kostenko (So., F, Fannystelle, Manitoba) buried it for her team-leading seventh goal of the season. Williams' helper was her first point of the season. Kostenko now has five points in her last six games and 10 on the season.

After taking a 1-0 lead into the third period, Bemidji State didn't let up in the final frame.

The Beavers added to their lead at the 9:12 mark when the Allie Duellman (Jr., D, Maplewood, Minn.) sprung BSU's top offensive line of Emily Erickson (R-Sr., F, Coleraine, Minn.), Sadie Lundquist (Sr., F, Cloquet, Minn.), and Kaitlyn Tougas (Fr., F, Thunder Bay, Ont.). Lundquist dished the puck to Tougas, who let a shot go from the left circle. Butters got a piece of the shot but Erickson finished the play by slamming home the rebound that was lying in the crease.

Erickson now has points in all three Beaver games in the second half of the year and has scored a goal in back-to-back games. Tougas earned her first point since she potted a goal and an assist in a 4-3 road win against the Mavericks Nov. 23.

Saturday afternoon, the Beavers and Mavericks will wrap up their weekend series with a game at the Sanford Center at 4:07. Next week, Bemidji State will travel to the University of Minnesota Duluth for two games before getting a week off. Fans can bring their skates Saturday to skate with Beaver players immediately following the game.