BEMIDJI, Minn. - Twice the Bemidji State University women's hockey team battle back from a one-goal deficit but a last minute second period goal by No. 1 University of Wisconsin gave the Badgers a 3-2 victory over the Beavers to open 2020. Bemidji State falls to 12-10-1 on the season and 6-7-0 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play while the Badgers improve to 21-1-1 and 11-1-1 in league play.
Junior Kara Werth started the scoring for the Beavers with her second of the season while senior Haley Mack scored her team-leading 13th goal of the season. Junior Clair DeGeorge led the team with two assists while redshirt junior Lauren Bench stopped 20-of-23 shots by the Badgers.
Wisconsin struck first and fast by scoring just 1:16 into the hockey game when Sophie Shirley sniped the top corner for her 20th goal of the season. Bemidji State answered for the first time in the game however, when Kara Werth one-timed a Clair DeGeorge pass that beat goaltender Kristen Campbell at 7:30 of the period.
Both teams skated to the 1-1 tie after the first period but the Badgers got off to another quick start in the middle frame when Natalie Buchbinder scored her first goal of the season just 55 seconds in the second period. The Beavers answered for a second time when Haley Mack tapped in a Reece Hunt centering pass that went five hole on Campbell. It would seem as if the Beavers and Badgers would head into the third period locked at 2-2 but with just 50 seconds remaining, Brette Pettet scored off a Presley Norby centering pass for the go-ahead goal late in the period.
Wisconsin limited the Beavers' opportunities in the third period but Bemidji State totaled seven shots during the period including some late chances by junior Lydia Passolt but Campbell and the Badger's defense held the Beavers off of the scoreboard to earn the 3-2 victory and three points in the WCHA standings.
Campbell finished with 21 saves for the Badgers while Bench made 20 while BSU came up empty on its lone power-play chance of the game and held the nation's top power-play unit scoreless on its two chances.
Bemidji State and Wisconsin will play the series finale tomorrow afternoon when the two teams meet again at 3:07 p.m. from the Sanford Center.