Gophers continue Bemidji win streak

Minnesota won for the 25th time without a loss against Bemidji State this weekend.

Zach Eisendrath

At least one streak continues.

After No. 1-ranked St. Lawrence snapped its home-ice winning streak last weekend, Minnesota’s women’s hockey team prolonged a different streak this weekend.

Following a two-game sweep of Bemidji State, the Gophers continued their unbeaten streak against the Beavers.

No. 4 Minnesota is now 25-0-3 against Bemidji State dating back to 1998.

The Gophers pulled out two narrow victories this weekend as they opened up Western Collegiate Hockey Association play at John S. Glas Fieldhouse in Bemidji.

Minnesota (3-1-0 overall) (2-0 WCHA) won 2-0 Friday afternoon and 3-2 Saturday.

“The most important thing is that we earned four points, coach Laura Halldorson said. “Every weekend is going to be tough and points will be hard to earn.”

Friday night, sophomore forward Erica McKenzie scored the first goal of the weekend when she lined in a power-play goal from the far side of the net in the second period.

“It was a beauty,” Halldorson said of McKenzie’s goal.

Like their previous two contests, freshmen made large contributions in Friday’s affair.

Freshman goaltender Brittony Chartier recorded her second career shutout, stopping all 11 Beavers shot attempts.

“I think (Chartier) has been solid since day one,” McKenzie said. “We are pretty lucky to have her behind us.”

Fellow freshman standout Gigi Marvin assisted on one of the team’s two goals.

Junior forward Andrea Nichols added a second goal at the 10:02 mark of the third, effectively sealing the game.

The Gophers had a bit more difficulty stopping the Bemidji State arsenal on Saturday. The Beavers put a scare into Minnesota’s unbeaten streak when Whitney Sears scored 1:21 into the first stanza.

However, Minnesota responded with a frenzy – getting goals from Whitney Graft in the first, Anya Miller in the second and McKenzie in the third – to lead 3-1.

Kate Robinson answered with a power play for the Beavers in the third to make it 3-2, but Chartier stopped 10 of 11 third period shots – 21 on the day – to secure the sweep and pick up her third victory of the season.

On the weekend, Chartier stopped 32 of 34 goals this weekend.

“She’s solid back there, Halldorson said. “She closed the door (all weekend).”

But it was McKenzie who shone brightest for the Gophers. In total, she had two goals and two assists for the weekend.

Despite their impressive all-time mark against the Beavers, Halldorson said her team had no trouble preparing for a conference foe.

“Honestly, I don’t think (the unbeaten streak) played a role,” she said. “I’m not even sure if the players are aware of it.

“We need to be motivated every game, there are not going to be any easy games for us this year. Teams will be licking their chops to play us.”

Regardless of this weekend’s result, both players and coach agreed there is work to be done.

“We still have things to work on,” Halldorson said. “But we made progress; we just need to keep going in the right direction.”

McKenzie said, “We are not as talented as last year, not to say that we don’t still have some very talented players, but we need to make up for the lost talent by working our butts off.

“We need to be ready for every game. And that’s not just about this weekend but all season.”