|1st||6:15||BMJ||1-0||EV||Summer Thibodeau (4)||Ciscely Nelson/2, Lauren Miller/9|
|2nd||19:32||MIN||1-1||SH||Sarah Potomak (18)||Cara Piazza/7|
|3rd||11:09||BMJ||2-1||EV GW||Ciscely Nelson (4)||Madison Hutchinson/11|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Bemidji State (12-19-3)||0/4||1/2||0|
|Bemidji State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Brittni Mowat (W, 11-18-3)||60:00||1||11||11||11||33|
|Sidney Peters (L, 23-6-4)||58:43||2||6||11||4||21|
MINNEAPOLIS - No. 2 seed Minnesota dropped a 2-1 decision to No. 7 seed Bemidji State at Ridder Arena Saturday evening to force a game three in this weekend's WCHA First Round series.
"We're disappointed with the result," head coach Brad Frost said. "We took too many penalties, couldn't put the puck in the net. Bemidji did a great job blocking shots, making it real tough and making it a great game. Keeping it 1-1 as long as they did, they found a way to get a break and win the game. We will have to be much better tomorrow, as our season probably hangs in the balance."
Bemidji State (12-19-3, 7-18-3-1 WCHA) received goals from Summer Thibodeau and Ciscely Nelson along with 33 saves from Brittni Mowat in the Beavers' second win over Minnesota this season.
Minnesota (24-6-5, 19-4-5-3 WCHA) took four penalties to the Beavers' one, and although the Gophers held BSU scoreless on four power plays, special teams swung the game's momentum in the visitors' favor.
"The penalties kind of dragged us on, but we know thats something we need to focus on again tomorrow," Sarah Potomak said. "I'm confident that we will be good tomorrow. Anytime we have to kill that many penalties off in a row, it just makes you tired, just kind-of frustrating sometimes. We killed them off well and just looking to move past that for tomorrow."
The Beavers got on the board first when Thibodeau scored her fourth goal of the season off a feed from Nelson and Lauren Miller at the 6:15 mark of the first period.
The Gophers responded in the final minute of the second period when Sarah Potomak evened the score with a shorthanded goal, her 18th tally of the season. Cara Piazza picked up an assist on the play, and the teams headed into the second intermission tied up 1-1.
However, Bemidji State took back the lead with a goal by Nelson at the midway through the third period. She netted her fourth of the season off a pass from Madison Hutchinson at the 11:09 mark, and it proved to be the game-winner.
Minnesota outshot the Beavers, 34-23, for the game, but could not solve Mowat for the second equalizer.
"We just have to get those second chances," Potomak said. "She (Mowat) makes unbelievable first saves. We know we have to get to the net and be strong and bear down on the rebounds."
The teams will meet in game three of this weekend's series at 4 p.m. CT Sunday afternoon at Ridder Arena with a trip to next weekend's WCHA Final Face-off on the line.
"We obviously have to play desperate hockey and continue to get pucks to the net," Frost said. "We need to score. We defended pretty well; we need to find a way to get that puck in the net ... Our big-time players have to be big-time players."
Top-seeded Wisconsin (29-2-4) and No. 3 seed Minnesota Duluth (24-5-5) have already secured their places at the WCHA Final Face-off as the Badgers swept No. 8 seed Minnesota State and the Bulldogs swept No. 6 seed St. Cloud State.
No. 4 seed North Dakota and No. 5 seed Ohio State will play game three of their best-of-three series Sunday, joining the Gophers and Beavers in requiring three games, to round out the WCHA tournament field.
The 2017 WCHA Final Face-off returns to Ridder Arena next weekend, and all-tournament ticket packages are now on sale. Two semifinal games are scheduled for 2:07 p.m. and 5:07 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 4 with the semifinal winners advancing to the WCHA championship game at 2:07 p.m. CT on Sunday, March 5, to play for the league's postseason trophy and an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.