Overtime win propels Gophers to sweep

Minnesota won in overtime for the first time all year in Saturday’s game.

Cara Piazza keeps her balance as she attempts a shot at the the 2015 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum game at the Roseville Skating Center Friday Dec. 11, 2015. The Gophers defeated the St.Cloud State 7-0.

Sam Harper, Daily File Photo

Cara Piazza keeps her balance as she attempts a shot at the the 2015 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum game at the Roseville Skating Center Friday Dec. 11, 2015. The Gophers defeated the St.Cloud State 7-0.

Emily Polglaze

The Gophers went into overtime for only the second time this season Saturday night, and they emerged victorious.
 
 
Minnesota completed a third-period comeback with an overtime goal from captain Lee Stecklein to win 2-1 over No. 7 Bemidji State and sweep the Beavers after a 2-1 victory on Friday.
 
 
“In playing a really good team like Bemidji — they’re No. 7 in the country — they were good defensively, blocked a lot of shots on us,” head coach Brad Frost said. “So I thought our team was very resilient, and overall, I’m very happy about the weekend.”
 
 
Both No. 3 Minnesota (24-3-0, 19-3-0 WCHA) and Bemidji (17-9-2, 12-9-1 WCHA) started slowly on Friday. Minnesota sophomore defenseman Sydney Baldwin scored first for the Gophers close to halfway through the period with an unassisted goal. 
 
 
Bemidji State’s Ciscely Nelson answered back just more than five minutes later to tie the score at 1-1 after one period of play.
 
 
The teams skated through a scoreless second period, but officials called senior defenseman Ivana Bilic of Bemidji State for roughing near the end, and the Gophers started the third still on the power play.
 
 
Sophomore forward Cara Piazza took advantage to give the Gophers a 2-1 lead 49 seconds into the last period, and the Gophers held on for the victory.
 
 
The Beavers came back and challenged Minnesota early into Saturday’s game.
 
 
Junior forward Lauren Miller scored halfway through the first period to give Bemidji State a 1-0 lead, and the Gophers were unable to respond during the rest of the first or in the second.
 
 
Minnesota went on the power play for the first time in the game more than halfway through the third, as officials called former Gophers forward Stephanie Anderson for checking her old team.
 
 
Junior forward Dani Cameranesi scored on the power play with less than seven minutes remaining in the game to tie the score 1-1. Cameranesi now has 12 goals on the power play this season, which is the best in the NCAA by five goals.
 
 
Her latest goal forced the two teams into overtime, but the game didn’t continue for long. Stecklein scored just 47 seconds into the extra period, with assists from junior forward Kate Schipper and Cameranesi.
 
 
“Kate Schipper made a great pass to me, and I walked through the middle,” Stecklein said. “Dani Cameranesi was there to take the goalie’s eyes away, and she had no chance to save it. My forwards did a great job, and I had the net to shoot at. We’re just lucky it went in.”
 
 
The Gophers were 2-for-2 in both the power play and penalty kill opportunities during the series. Minnesota has just three series left in the regular season. Two will come against top-10 opponents like Bemidji State.
 
 
“The games coming up are very exciting,” Piazza said. “We know we can’t take any shifts or periods off because those teams will capitalize on that. We just need to trust in what we know and how we play.”