BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University women's hockey team let go of a 3-0 lead in the third period against the University of Maine and dropped a 4-3 decision in a nonconference tilt at the Sanford Center on Friday night. BSU posted a program record 60 shots and held Maine to 20 on the night, but fell to 2-6-1 on the season with the loss that came on the heels of a third period in which the team was outscored 4-0.
Maine now leads the all-time series 4-2-0 after the Beavers recorded a sweep of the Black Bears in Orono, Maine last season with a 3-2 overtime win and a 7-1 victory the following night. BSU is 8-2-1 in its last 11 nonconference games dating back to Oct. 16, 2010, but is 1-2-0 in such games this year after splitting with Providence College on the road to open the season.
BSU staked itself to a 3-0 lead in the first period and carried the play with an emphatic 23-8 shot advantage.
At the 10:26 mark, freshman Kaitlyn Tougas (F, Thunder Bay, Ont.) broke the deadlock by one-timing a Kristin Huber (So., F, Kelowna, B.C.) pass from the edge of the crease. The goal was Tougas' second of the season.
It only took the Beavers 2:52 to cushion their lead as Huber set up first-year forward Hanna Moher (F, Milton, Ont.) for her first collegiate goal. With 31 seconds to play in the opening period, senior captain Sadie Lundquist (F, Cloquet, Minn.) tipped home a MacKenzie Thurston (Sr., F, Ottawa, Ont.) point shot on the power play to make it 3-0. Thurston's point was her team-leading sixth in 2012-13.
After the intermission, the Black Bears replaced goaltender Meghann Treacy with Brittany Ott after Treacy allowed three BSU goals on 23 shots in the first. Ott stood tall in the middle frame, stopping all 21 shots she saw as the Black Bears were only able to muster three shots in the period.
Following a scoreless second period, Audra Richards got Maine on the board 47 seconds into the final stanza with a breakaway goal. Just 54 seconds later, Abbey Cook made it 3-2 by jamming home a rebound in front of Bemidji State goaltender Abby Ryplanski (So., Winnipeg, Man.). Katy Massey tied the score at the 11:54 mark with a similar goal and Tori Pasquariello got the game-winner at 14:18 by knocking in a loose puck in the blue paint.
The Beavers pressed in the closing minutes of the game, but were unable to solve Ott. BSU head coach Steve Sertich pulled Ryplanski for an extra skater with 1:15 left, but the move was made to no avail.
Ott finished the night stopping all 37 Bemdiji State offerings that came her way, while Ryplanski made 16 saves on 20 shots. BSU goal leader Natasha Kostenko (So., F, Fannystelle, Man.) had a game-high nine shots on goal, the most for a Beaver this season, while Erika Wheelhouse (Sr., D, Crookston, Minn.) led the team with three blocked shots in addition to one assist.
The two teams play again on Saturday at 7 p.m. Bemidji State will host a WCHA opponent, the University of North Dakota, next weekend.