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Gopher Women Overcome Angry Beavers

In a tight game to the very finish Minnesota edges Bemidji out for a 2-1 victory.

Cat Lenander

The first several minutes of the game consisted of a lot of back and forth with a number of wide or blocked shots, as neither team allowed much in the way of direct shots. After that Bemidji’s offensive prows improved, though it was hampered by Minnesota’s defense, especially Olivia Knowles who blocked a couple of shots and pressed herself into Graysen Myers enough to completely botch her shot. Alex Gulstene even came out of goal to bat the puck away from Mak Langei, and then a teammate of hers got the puck and threw it at goal, but it went wide. When Gulstene blocked a shot from Haley Mack the puck flipped over her and landed on the opposite side of the crease and she barely managed to slide across the crease and cover up before Clair DeGeorge reached the puck.

Catie Skaja won a faceoff, sending the puck back to Taylor Williamson and as soon as she reached the area above the slot she fired past Kerigan Dowhy into goal at 11:52. After that the Beavers went back on the attack and while they didn’t wrack up that many shots, they boxed the Gophers into their zone a lot. Paige Beebe did had a great shot that went smack dab into the M on Gulstene’s jersey. Then in the last minute of the period Minnesota had a short blitz and created a mess at Bemidji’s crease, but didn’t increase their lead.

Sophie Skarzynski went to the box for tripping just 38 seconds into second period. Minnesota killed the penalty in part thanks to Taylor Heise’s singlehandedly keeping the puck in Bemidji’s zone for at least thirty seconds. However, the unsuccessful power play didn’t deter the Beavers and they kept firing on goal until Jacqueline Kaasa stole the puck and had a breakaway down the center that resulted in a top shelf goal at 7:26. Play remained in Minnesota’s zone until a little after the halfway mark when the Gophers got a little flurry. Then the Beavers were back on the attack.

The tightness of the game must have been getting to the skaters because at 13:09 Wente went to the box for tripping, while Emily Brown and Ellie Moser earned coincidental penalties for roughing. During this power play Emily Oden nearly scored a shortie. Minnesota had their best offense of the period in the last five minutes, but Lydia Passolt had a far better chance than what they managed in those minutes—racing down the left side with Gophers on her tail and making a lateral shot that slide through the crease before going wide.

Early in the third Bemidji had twenty-two seconds of a six skater offensive due to a Williamson tripping penalty that finally kicked in at 2:12. Gophers killed it and soon went on a power play of their own when Heather Olson hooked Skaja as she crossed into Bemidji’s zone at 4:55. It took the Gophers just long enough for Brown to make a lateral pass to Grace Zumwinkle and she blasted the puck into goal from the top of the right circle at 5:06, breaking the tie. While seconds later a fight almost broke out at the Minnesota crease after Gulstene stopped Beebe’s shot, the Gophers were spurred into action and had a lot of solid attempts on goal, including when Kippin Keller hit pipe.

Beebe went to the box for roughing at 7:31 and the best chances on goal during the power play came from Kiki Radke and Mack trying to finish off her rebound. Gulstene denied both. Just after the Beavers were back to full strength Mack hit the crossbar to kick off her team solidly hammering Gulstene until Minnesota used their timeout at 13:32. Then Brown went back to the box for cross-checking at 14:07 and the Beavers were so riled up that the Gophers had to block shots like they were Bemidji. After the penalty expired Passolt had another great shot after coming down the left side, which Gulstene stopped, and then Minnesota put a couple shots on Dowhy. Bemidji used their timeout at 18:22 and then pulled their goalie at 18:56. The Beavers kept pressing and creating so many close chances to tie the game, but in the end they couldn’t. Minnesota won 2-1 and managed to outshoot Bemidji State 27-26, completing the sweep.