Minnesota got a goal per period from its blue line in recording a 3-1 win over Bemidji State in the opening game of the teams’ WCHA quarterfinal series.
“Bemidji does such a good job of clogging things up in the middle, in particular in their zone,” coach Brad Frost said. “Any time we can spread that thing out and get some traffic in front and get it to the net, it’s to our advantage.”
Freshman Katie Robinson hit the top of the net for her third goal of the season at 13:48 of the first stanza for Minnesota (24-5-5, 19-4-5-3 WCHA).
“I didn’t see the goalie, so they had a nice screen,” she said.
A period later, Kelly Pannek found Patti Marshall moving in on the weak side and the freshman from Thief River Falls, Minnesota, powered a shot through Brittni Mowat, who made 32 saves for the Beavers (11-19-3, 7-18-3-1 WCHA), to make it 2-0.
“Kelly set me up really nicely,” Marshall said. “I had the easy job back door. We pinned them in the zone. You get good momentum from that, and sometimes, it leads to a goal.”
Minnesota’s blue line also contributed to keeping Bemidji State’s offense in check, limiting it to 30 shot attempts compared to 71 for the hosts.
“I think we maintained it in the offensive zone pretty well and didn’t let them get in the defensive zone,” Robinson said.
Freshman Haley Mack finally broke through for the Beavers at 7:29 of the third period, just over a minute after Lee Stecklein had upped Minnesota’s lead to three on the power play.
“We battled in the third,” coach Jim Scanlan said. “We scored the goal; we just missed on another one.”
Near misses much earlier were even more frustrating.
“We got a little bit unlucky I thought in the first,” Scanlan said. “[Lauren] Miller is in and hits the post; [Abby] Halluska hits one that hits off the crossbar.”
If the Gophers got more breaks, it’s likely because most of the game was played in their offensive end.
“We found a way,” coach Brad Frost said. “It certainly wasn’t pretty, but hopefully, we’ll be a little better tomorrow and find a way to advance in the playoffs here.”