BEMIDJI, Minn. - Behind a pair of goals from senior Haley Mack, Bemidji State University scored four unanswered goals Friday to open the Western Collegiate Hockey Association season with a 4-2 victory over No. 8 University of Minnesota Duluth.
In addition to Mack, Paige Beebe posted what would become the game-winning goal at the 10:02 mark of the third period to go with two assists and Tina Kampa recorded a career-high three assists. Mack finished the game with two goals and two points while Reece Hunt earned two assists for her first career multi-point game.
Lauren Bench earned her first victory of the season after turning aside 19 of the 21 shots she faced, while backdropping a penalty-kill unit that held the Bulldogs to one goal on five power-play chances.
Minnesota Duluth came out of the pregame announcements looking to be the aggressors and posted two goals in the opening period to go up 2-0 on the Beavers. The eighth-ranked Bulldogs started the scoring with a goal from Anna Klein just 2:59 into the game while Jalyn Elmes added a power-play goal at 14:10 of the period.
The Beavers used the first intermission to recollect and challenge themselves to be better and it showed on the scoreboard. Bemidji State out-shot Minnesota Duluth 16-9 in the middle frame and senior Haley Mack scored twice to tie the game. Mack started the period by scoring her third goal of the season after receiving a centering pass from Clair DeGeorge while on a power play at 9:45. She then followed with her fourth goal of the season, second of the game, just 4:51 later for the equalizer.
Bemidji State carried that momentum into the final period looking to gain three points in the WCHA standings. The Beavers continued to apply pressure on goaltender Maddie Rooney and the Bulldogs' defense and eventually broke through when Paige Beebe tapped in cross-crease pass from Reece Hunt for the go-ahead goal and her first of the season. With 1:41 to play and down a goal, UMD pulled Rooney for the extra skater and BSU capitalized with little time left when Abby Halluska netted the empty-net goal with six seconds remaining to seal the upset victory.
A total of 11 penalties were called in the game with BSU earning six chances and converted on one while Minnesota Duluth earned five power plays and also converted on one.
The win snaps a three-game losing streak against the Bulldogs for the Beavers.
Bemidji State and Minnesota Duluth wrap-up the Opening Faceoff series tomorrow afternoon when the two teams meet for the series finale at 3:07 p.m., from the Sanford Center.