BEMIDJI, Minn. - For the first time since 2014 the Bemidji State University women's hockey team defeated the No. 1 team in the nation after the Beavers (10-15-2, 7-8-2-0 WCHA) defeated No. 1 University of Wisconsin 2-1 Friday night at the Sanford Center. Sophomore Lydia Passolt scored the game-winning goal with 11:25 left in the final period to give Bemidji State its first win over Wisconsin since Jan. 16, 2015 (16-0-1).
With the win, Bemidji State head coach Jim Scanlan tied Steve Sertich (06-14) for most wins in program history with 81 career wins.
Redshirt-sophomore Lauren Bench was phenomenal in net and earned the game's first star after she stopped 29-of-30 shots by the Badgers to earn her sixth win of the season.
After a scoreless first period, Wisconsin reached the scoreboard first with a sharp-angle shot from Mekenzie Steffen that fooled Bench and found the back of the net at 8:26 of the second period. The Beavers didn't let the goal phase them and came right back applied pressure in their offensive zone. After cycling the puck, BSU's Paige Beebe had a shot the was blocked and landed right in front of junior Jacqueline Kaasa back door where she tapped it past Wisconsin goaltender Kristen Campbell just 3:52 after the Badgers' goal. For Kaasa it was her seventh goal of the season to tie her with Beebe for second most on the team. The Beavers and Badgers then headed to the locker room for the second intermission tied 1-1.
Wisconsin dominated play in the final period and by the final buzzer sounded, the Badgers outshot the Beavers 12-2 in the third period. However, while on a power-play Kiki Radke entered the zone with 10:31 on the clock and passed the puck over to Emily Bergland who found Passolt entering the zone late. Passolt then fired a shot through two Badger defenders and past Campbell to give Bemidji State a 2-1 lead with 10:25 remaining. The Badgers came full force at the Beavers and held play in their offensive zone for much of the remaining period but Bench and the Beavers defense were excellent and turned away every scoring chance the Badgers had. Wisconsin pulled its goaltender with 2:25 remaining and seemed to hold the zone for the full two minutes, but blocked shots by Abby Halluska, Emily Bergland and the rest of the Beaver squad denied the Badgers attempt at a comeback and the Beavers escaped with the 2-1 victory.
Wisconsin finished the game outshooting the Beavers 30-18 in the game despite only outshooting BSU 18-16 in the first two periods. The Western Collegiate Hockey Association's top penalty kill unit was dominant once again for the Beavers and denied UW on all three of its chances while the Beavers' power-play was 1-for-4 with the game-winning goal.
Bench improved to 6-7-2 on the season and her first career win over the Badgers while Kristen Campbell fell to 23-4-0 on the season after allowing two goals on 18 shots.
Bemidji State and the top-ranked Badgers play the series finale tomorrow afternoon at Sanford Center. Puck drop is slated for 3:07 p.m.