BEMIDJI, Minn. — Bemidji State University’s Zuzana Tomcikova has often been brilliant in net against the University of Minnesota without a win to show for it. On Friday, in the first game between the two teams in the new Bemidji Regional Events Center (BREC), she earned her first win against a Gophers team that did much to stop themselves.
Erin Cody scored early and late, Sadie Lundquist contributed a pair of assists, and Tomcikova took care of everything else.
“It was a lot of fun, but the girls helped me out, so it was easy,” Tomcikova said.
The Beavers (7-6-2, 5-4-2-1 WCHA) once more served evidence that they deserve to be a ranked team. Bemidji added No. 7 Minnesota (10-6-0, 5-6-0-0 WCHA) to the list of top-ten teams that they have bested, having previously defeated Mercyhurst, Minnesota-Duluth, and North Dakota.
“We’ve come so far,” Cody said. “As far as the skill, the coaches are doing a great job bringing in kids that are out there battling just as hard. It’s huge to have a team on the same page. To go out there with confidence is huge.”
Cody gave Bemidji the lead at 6:01 of the first period with a quick wrist shot that found the top corner above Noora Räty’s glove. Sadie Lundquist and Allie Duellman garnered the assists. Cody wasn’t sure whether or not it hit traffic on the way to the net.
“My teammates said it just went pipe and in,” she said. “I just saw a bunch of people and knew the goalie probably couldn’t see it, so found a hole, and got it through.”
Once they had that lead, winning became a much easier proposition for Bemidji State.
“We took care of the puck a lot better than we did early on in the year,” Bemidji coach Steve Sertich said. “We were able to relieve pressure, and we got the puck out, we got the puck deep. We tried to keep it simple.”
Minnesota had several odd-man rushes, but they produced little. At times, they made one pass too many; on other occasions, the puck carrier didn’t even look to pass and Tomcikova easily handled the shot.
“We started a little slow, which unfortunately is becoming a pattern for us,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said. “Give a lot of credit to Bemidji; they played very, very well, and we didn’t play well enough to win.”
Cody iced the game with an empty-net goal with 29 seconds remaining, her 11th tally of the season. Minnesota’s Sarah Erickson turned the puck over along the wall in her own zone and Emily Erickson got the puck to Cody with Lundquist also assisting.
Turnovers were a theme for Minnesota in the contest.
“We’re better when we have the puck on our stick, and tonight we were really tense, and I could tell that people were gripping their sticks a little tighter than normal,” junior defenseman Anne Schlepper said. “I think we panicked with the puck more than we wanted to, and that’s going to be a huge factor in a game like this.”
Tomcikova finished with 29 saves in slamming the door on the Gophers. Räty stopped 30 of 31 shots in defeat.
“We’re really excited that we get to be in here,” Tomcikova said of the Beavers’ new arena. “Not that we don’t try hard other places, but this is our home and we want to protect it and show the other teams that this is our house, and how coach says they don’t come in and steal from our fridge.”
“I don’t know if there’s a magic there or not, but we’re playing well in this building,” Sertich said. “Hopefully, we can keep it up.”
The teams wrap up the series at the BREC on Saturday at 2:07 p.m.