Gophers advance to Final Five with sweep of BSU

Minnesota overcame a pair of two-goal deficits in a 4-3 victory Saturday.

by Drew Claussen

It’s always hard to end a team’s season, and Bemidji State proved that old adage true this weekend.

The Gophers completed a sweep of Bemidji State in the first round of the WCHA playoffs Saturday, winning 4-3.

Like Friday’s game, which Minnesota won 2-1, this victory didn’t come easily.

Ben Marshall scored the game-winning goal with less than one minute left in the third period, giving the Gophers their first lead of the contest. The Gophers twice trailed by two goals.

A.J. Michaelson scored the game-tying goal earlier in the third period off a rebound.

Bemidji State struck first when Jordan George put a rebound past Gophers goalie Adam Wilcox on the power play in the first period. The goal came on Bemidji State’s first extra-man opportunity of the weekend.

The second period was a wild one, as each team scored two goals.

After the Beavers scored to go up 2-0, Nick Bjugstad answered with a one-time goal from Kyle Rau.

Mariucci Arena was already buzzing after the announcement that the women’s hockey team had defeated North Dakota next door at Ridder Arena, and it exploded when Bjugstad scored.

Bemidji State quieted the crowd seconds later when Jeff Jubinville scored to give the Beavers another two-goal lead.

Minnesota cut the lead to 3-2 at the end of the second period when a shot from Erik Haula deflected off Nate Condon and bounced past Walsh.

The Gophers will advance to the WCHA Final Five next weekend at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Minnesota will play Friday, and its opponent and game time will be determined after this weekend.