BEMIDJI, Minn. – Meghan Lorence had two goals and Amanda Leveille turned in a 19-save shutout as Minnesota defeated host Bemidji State, 4-0.
“It’s a different team, obviously, from last year, but they still have great speed and they play well as a team,” BSU coach Steve Sertich said.
The Gophers (7-0-0, 5-0-0- WCHA) scored three times in the second period while putting 20 shots on the net of the Beavers (3-3-1, 0-1-0 WCHA).
“I think Minnesota had the jump in the second period,” Bemidji State freshman goaltender Brittni Mowat said. “We knew they were going to come out stronger after they didn’t score on us in the first.”
At the 3:06 mark, Sarah Davis centered to Lorence alone in the slot, and the junior’s shot beat Mowat. Brook Garzone picked up an assist on the play.
Rachel Ramsey doubled the score with a shot through traffic from the right point that found its way into the goal less than four minutes later.
“Our forwards have done an amazing job just standing in front of the net,” Ramsey said. “First getting us the puck, and then getting to the net and getting that screen.”
Kate Schipper put away a power-play rebound at 18:29 for her first Gophers goal, assisted by Rachael Bona and Ramsey.
“I felt like I was putting too much pressure on myself to score, and I finally got one in, so it feels good,” Schipper said.
With sophomore Milica McMillen out with an injury, Ramsey was a force on the Minnesota blue line.
“Ramsey played with a lot of confidence tonight, both offensively and on the blue line,” coach Brad Frost said.
“We didn’t do a very good job of helping Mowat out,” Sertich said. “The slot was wide open a number of times. We better take care of that before tomorrow.”
Lorence completed the scoring in the third period by pounding home a rebound.
“It’s a veteran line,” Ramsey said. “Meghan Lorence has been playing terrific along with the rest of that line.”
Although Minnesota had the better pressure through a scoreless first period, Bemidji State came close to the all-important first goal when Hanna Moher’s shot beat Amanda Leveille but kissed the crossbar and deflected to the corner of the rink.
“We could have used one early, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen,” Sertich said.
Hannah Brandt evened the breaks out when she banged a pipe on the other end in the closing minutes of the frame, as Minnesota ended the first 20 minutes with a 13-3 shot advantage, but few were threatening.
“I think it’s a credit to Bemidji,” Frost said. “That’s what they want to do, is win those little battles and win the races.”
The last time the two teams met in a regular season game, the Gophers needed overtime in order to triumph.
“We’ve had some good games against Minnesota the last three, four years,” Sertich said. “You just have to get kids to buy into the fact that you have to battle for each puck and contest each play. Sometimes, you get that out of a team; sometimes you don’t. We did that last year, but we couldn’t do it for 60 minutes tonight.”
Mowat got her chance to face a top offense at the NCAA level and made 42 saves.
“I thought she did very well for a freshman goaltender,” Sertich said.
The teams conclude their series at 4:07 Saturday on the Sanford Center ice.
“After one period, it was 0-0, so if we can play like that every period, we can make a game of it,” Mowat said.