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Bemidji State held scoreless as St. Cloud State strikes twice in 2nd period

“We take some shifts off, and they make us pay for it,” Bemidji State forward Claire Vekich said. “So we can't be doing that. We’ve got to play a full 60 minutes hard.”

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Bemidji State sophomore Claire Vekich (15) reaches for the puck during the third period on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- Offense was hard to come by on Friday at the Sanford Center.

Bemidji State and St. Cloud State matched up and managed just three shots on goal apiece in the first period, with neither team consistently translating puck movement to quality chances.

That began to change in the second period, though, and it was the Beavers’ undoing. SCSU managed two scores about 10 minutes apart in the second frame and finished off a 2-0 victory.

“They’re a team that makes it really hard to get to the net,” BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said of the Huskies. “And they certainly proved that tonight in terms of the way they played.”

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The Beavers look for the puck in front of the St. Cloud State net during the third period on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

SCSU held Bemidji State to just 15 shots on goal, particularly shutting down any opportunities the Beavers tried to generate in front of the crease.

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St. Cloud State (5-6, 3-6 WCHA) broke through initially with a score by Emma Gentry right in front of the goal, taking the lead 1:46 into the second period. Then, after Ella Anick slipped and fell down in the neutral zone, SCSU’s Olivia Cvar took advantage. Cvar stalked down the left side of the ice, whipping a shot just past the outstretched glove of Hannah Hogenson and into the right top corner for a 2-0 advantage at 12:23.

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“We take some shifts off, and they make us pay for it,” BSU forward Claire Vekich said. “So we can't be doing that. We’ve got to play a full 60 minutes hard.”

Bemidji State (3-9-1, 1-8 WCHA) manufactured some opportunities to score down the stretch in the second period and picked up the intensity in the third, but the Beavers couldn’t connect on critical passes and were otherwise stonewalled by the Huskies.

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Bemidji State sophomore Adriana Van De Leest (24) watches the puck sail toward the St. Cloud State net during the third period on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“They did a really good job of keeping us outside of the middle of the ice,” Vekich said. “There's like a little box that you're trying to get to. And they made it very hard for us to get there. I also think we just need to be more relentless. We need to be more physical, aggressive.”

BSU has now gone two games without a goal, making every period they don’t score more pressure-packed.

“Obviously, our group's pressing,” Scanlan said. “We haven't scored a goal since Reece Hunt scored the winner against Mankato. That was a week ago.”

“It's a lot of pressure,” Vekich said. “It is. But I think we need to stay strong and keep our heads level. Just keep working. One time or another, the puck is going to go in. Like our coach said, we haven't really had much puck luck, but that's the way of the game. So sooner or later, the pucks are going to start going in for us.”

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Bemidji State junior Hannah Hogenson (1) faces a penalty shot from St. Cloud State's Jenniina Nylund (81) during the third period on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Because the Huskies clogged up the middle so effectively, the Beavers struggled to exhibit Scanlan’s central tenet of finding scoring chances in front of the net.

“I think just harping on it every time,” Vekich said of how BSU can play better at the net-front. “One time or another, it's going to get into all of our heads. So the more we harp on it, and the more we work on it in practice, the better we're going to get at it.”

Hogenson recorded 23 saves for Bemidji State, including a stop of Jenniina Nylund’s penalty shot in the third period. Sanni Ahola had 15 saves for St. Cloud State.

The Beavers match up against SCSU once again at 2:01 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5, back at the Sanford Center.

St. Cloud State 2, Bemidji State 0

SCSU 0 2 0 -- 2

BSU 0 0 0 -- 0

First period -- No scoring.

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Second period -- 1, SCSU GOAL, Gentry (Lind, Hymlárová), 1:46; 2, SCSU GOAL, Cvar (Ross), 12:23.

Third period -- No scoring.

Saves -- Hogenson (BSU) 23; Ahola (SCSU) 15.

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Bemidji State junior Gabbie Smith (20) chases the puck during the second period against St. Cloud State on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji State sophomore Makenna Deering (2) controls the puck during the second period against St. Cloud State on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji State senior Reece Hunt (29) controls the puck during the second period against St. Cloud State on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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