Bemidji St. women's hockey shows improvement in split with No. 4 Wisconsin
The Bemidji State women's hockey team lost to defending national champion Wisconsin 3-1 in the home opener Sunday afternoon at John Glas Fieldhouse.
No. 4 Wisconsin avoided the sweep after losing to the Beavers 1-0 Saturday night in Coleraine.
There were many encouraging signs in Sunday's loss for the Beavers, who showed Saturday's win - only the second in school history against the Badgers - was not an aberration.
"The sky really is the limit for us this year," Bemidji State captain Erin Cody said. "We really have nothing to lose, nobody is expecting us to be good and we're out to prove over the next few weeks that this weekend was not a fluke. We'll come out next week and compete hard."
Bemidji State (1-3 overall, 1-1 WCHA) stays at home next weekend to host Ohio State.
In Sunday's game Bemidji State showed speed and controlled play for long stretches against the Badgers, something not seen in recent games against Wisconsin.
The Beavers were outshot by a slim 41-36 margin.
"The good news with this team is that we have the speed to get up and down the rink with a team like this and we're not a step behind like we were last year," Bemidji State head coach Steve Sertich said. "We're right there with them."
Some may say Wisconsin (2-2 overall, 2-0 WCHA) is experiencing a down year after splitting the first two weekends of the season against North Dakota and BSU. Sertich dispelled that notion.
"They are not down, they are a very good team and a legitimate top 10 team in the country right now," he said.
Bemidji State scored first when Badger goalie Alannah McCready skated behind the net and misplayed the puck off the back boards. The puck bounced to the front of the net onto Kierstin Visser's stick and she chipped it into the open net at 3:35 of the first period.
Wisconsin tied the game with with 3:42 left in the period on the power play when Kelly Nash pushed the puck through the crease during a scrum in front of BSU goalie Zuzana Tomcikova.
Wisconsin went up 2-1 right away after the intermission when Mallory Deluce scored an unassisted goal 15 seconds into the first period.
With 3:31 left in the second period, the game was stopped for nearly an hour when Wisconsin's Olivia Jakiel was injured on a collision with a teammate at the Badger blue line. She layed motionless on the ice while medical crews attended to her and an ambulance was called.
Jankiel was wheeled off the ice on a stretcher and her condition was not immediately known.
The teams resumed play for the final 3:31 of the second period and after a five-minute intermission, the third period was played out.
Wisconsin scored the insurance goal halfway through the third period when BSU was unable to clear the defensive zone and Breann Frykas scored.
"I think we were really close the entire game and it really could have gone either way," Cody said. "It's not like last year where we were getting outshot 40-5 or something like that. This is a new year and I think everyone in the league is closer to each other than what it has been like in the past. We had a good summer workout program, we have the chemistry and nothing is blocking us right now."