BEMIDJI, Minn. - The Bemidji State University women's hockey team dropped its final regular-season game by a 3-1 score to No. 6 University of Wisconsin Saturday afternoon on Bemidji State's Senior Day. The contest was the final home game for the squad's eight seniors: Emily Erickson (F, Coleraine, Minn.), Sadie Lundquist (F, Cloquet, Minn.), Molly Arola (F, Walker, Minn.), Abby Williams (F, Alexandria, Minn.), MacKenzie Thurston (F, Ottawa, Ontario) Jamie Hatheway (F/D, Trenton, Ontario), Erika Wheelhouse (D, Crookston, Minn.), and Jessica Havel (G, Grand Rapids, Minn.).
The defeat sealed the Beavers' playoff fate, as they will travel south to clash with 34-0-0 defending national champion University of Minnesota. The No. 1 Gophers defeated BSU by 5-1 and 5-0 scores in December and won 8-0 last weekend before receiving their first overtime scare of the season when the Beavers forced the extra session by playing to a 2-2 tie in regulation. Minnesota won 3-2 on a power-play goal with 1:12 to play.
The Beavers got off to a much faster start Saturday than they did against the Badgers in a 2-0 loss Friday. Despite BSU's strong start in an up-tempo, penalty-free first period, Wisconsin emerged from the opening frame with a 1-0 lead.
With 21 seconds separating the Bemidji State and Wisconsin from heading into the first intermission scoreless, UW defenseman Kelly Jaminski snuck a long shot through starting goaltender Havel and inside the post.
In the second period, Bemidji State finally got on the scoreboard and knotted the score when Erickson opened up on a rush down the right wing and snapped a seeing-eye shot past Badger netminder Alex Rigsby. The point was the 93rd of Erickson's career-fifth-most in program history-and was her 45th career goal. Allie Duellman (Jr., D, Maplewood, Minn.) and Hanna Moher (Fr., F, Milton, Ontario) earned assists on the play.
Later in the middle stanza, Jaminski set up Wisconsin's eventual game-winning goal, breaking into the BSU zone firing a shot from the slot that was stopped by Havel. Katy Josephs, however, walked in front of the goal unabated and scored on the rebound.
Brooklyn Decker capped the scoring for the Badgers for the second consecutive day, wristing home a shot from the right circle 7:44 into the third period. Bemidji State pulled its goalie for the extra attacker with over three minutes to play, but to no avail.
Havel finished the night with 28 saves, while Rigsby stopped 29 shots to guide her team to victory. In four meetings this season, BSU and UW combined for just 13 goals in four games. The 2012-13 senior class leaves the Sanford Center for the final time tied for being the winningest four-year class in Beaver history with 49 all-time victories. They will get a chance to surpass last year's senior class for sole possession of the record next week.
Next weekend's games at Minnesota are slated to begin at 6 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (if necessary).
For more information on the Bemidji State University women's hockey program follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BeaverWoHockey or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers), or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota's wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men's and women's hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).