DULUTH, Minn. — The game of hockey can be a game of momentum. Though 60 minutes long, a game can be decided in seconds. Much was the case in Duluth tonight as UMD quickly turned a 2-1 first intermission lead into a dominating 7-2 victory in the first game of its WCHA quarterfinal series against Bemidji State.
With the game close at 2-1 to start the second period, Bemidji (11-22-2) began the period with good pressure in the UMD end. Senior winger Aimee Collins had a chance to tie the game on a clean breakaway against UMD goalie Riitta Schaublin. It looked as if Collins had beat Schabulin until the tall goalie’s skate caught part of the puck.
Just minutes after coming oh-so-close to the tie, Bemidji found itself down 5-1 as UMD scored three goals on its next five shots. After the abrupt momentum shift, Bemidji goalie Jill Luebke was replaced by Emily Brookshaw.
“UMD came out with a lot of fire, moved their feet and played disciplined hockey tonight,” BSU co-interim head coach Jim Ingman said. “You have to play as a team to play with a team like UMD, and tonight we didn’t do that.”
UMD (21-7-3) opened the scoring at just 3:23 of the first when defender Jill Sales took a hard slap shot from the blue line. It was the quick stick of returning German Olympian Michaela Lanzl that put the puck in the net. The deflection sailed over Luebke’s left shoulder. It was Lanzl’s first goal since Nov. 26.
UMD scored again just two minutes later when Jessica Koizumi skated out of the left corner, eluded two defenders and hit the back of the net as she shot hard and low past Luebke’s right skate.
BSU seemed to regroup and Luebke made several nice saves to keep Bemidji in the game. BSU senior winger Aimee Collins broke the ice for BSU with just over three minutes remaining in the first. Collins completely missed the puck on her first attempt but maintained her composure, and an off-speed, change-up shot slipped under Schaublin to bring the Beavers to within a goal.
Ingman said that tomorrow’s game depended on who played best in their own end: “I’ve told my team that UMD is like a sleeping giant of this tournament. They’ve been through a rough period but with those Olympic players back having just played at such a high level it has to add a lot not only to their play on the ice, but in the locker room.”
UMD coach Shannon Miller echoed Ingman’s sentiment: “The team is back, we have great energy and the team feels complete again.”
Miller felt that UMD’s captain, Schaublin, had her best game in goal of the last few weeks and that it is something for the team to build on.
“As a coach you always worry about the next game after a victory like this,” she said. “I hope we come out tomorrow, be serious and take care of business.”
Ingman said that he will start Brookshaw in tomorrow’s second game. He noted that she has always played well against UMD. Holding things in check tonight after replacing Luebke was just the latest example.