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No. 1 Gophers complete sweep over Bemidji State

Minnesota has now beaten Bemidji State 14 straight times.
Taylor Heise handles the puck on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn.
Image by Jack Rodgers
Taylor Heise handles the puck on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn.

The top-ranked Minnesota Gophers completed their sweep of the Bemidji State Beavers at home with a win on Saturday night. Goalie Lauren bench stopped 27 out of 29 shots served by the Beavers en route to a 5-2 victory.

It was a defensive battle to start out game two of the week. Hannah Hogenson replaced Kerigan Dowhy in net for Bemidji State after Dowhy let in seven goals the previous night. With five minutes left in the period, both teams quickly traded goals to put the game at a 1-1 standstill. Emily Brown of the Gophers sniped one in from the blue line to give Minnesota a short-lived 1-0 lead. Immediately after Brown’s goal, the Beavers struck back with a Taylor Nelson goal. The Gophers finished the period leading in shots on goal 14-11.

The scoring in the second period was eerily similar to the first period’s back and forth action. Minnesota struck first with a Taylor Heise goal to pull ahead 2-1. Seconds after, Graysen Myers of Bemidji State answered to put the game at a 2-2 draw.

Savannah Norcross responded to Myers’ goal a minute later to give the Gophers a 3-2 lead that, for the first time this game, wasn’t answered by a Beavers goal. The Gophers extended their lead with an Abigail Boreen goal to make the game 4-2 Minnesota going into the third period. The Gophers finished the second period leading in shots on goal 29-17.

“I think we learned our lesson,” Heise said. “Obviously if you score you want to make sure the next shift after that is always key no matter who you are scoring against. We had a little breakdown there but at the end of the day, Sav [Norcross] came in and scored the next goal which was huge and we continued to play well after that.”

A quiet close to the series occurred in the third period, with neither team scoring until the Gophers cashed in on an empty-net goal scored by Heise, her second of the game, with three minutes remaining. Catie Skaja and Nelson both exchanged holding penalties early on that made for some interesting 4-on-4 play. With 7 minutes left in regulation, an Amy Potomak penalty for game misconduct gave the Beavers a great opportunity to climb back with a five-minute power play but it worked to no avail. The Gophers would take the 5-2 win and complete the season sweep over the Beavers. The final shots on goal were 47-29 Gophers.

“A good sweep at home,”  Minnesota head coach Brad Frost said. “Every point is important and I thought we played really well here tonight. Credit Bemidji, they played a lot better than they did last night.”

The Minnesota Gophers will play a home-and-home series next weekend against the St. Cloud State Huskies with the first game played at St. Cloud on Friday and the second in Minneapolis on Saturday. Both games will start at 3 PM CST. St. Cloud’s home rink features an Olympic-sized rink that is slightly larger than a normal NHL-style sheet that Ridder Arena uses.

“I like the big ice, I think it plays to our advantage since we are a fast team,” Boreen said.

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