Bemidji State women's hockey: Beavers knock off No. 1-ranked Mercyhurst
Sadie Lundquist and Alana McElhinney led the way in a Saturday afternoon of firsts for the Bemidji State women's hockey team, a 5-3 victory over Mercyhurst College at the Bemidji Regional Event Center.
Lundquist scored the first goal in the new arena for the BSU women and backup goalie McElhinney had 56 saves in the Beavers' first victory in the new building.
The win also marked the program's first victory over a No. 1-ranked team in the country.
"This was obviously a huge win for us," Lundquist said. "It was great to beat a good team on our home rink and win our first game. It really showed the character of our team after losing Friday. It shows we're working hard and we deserve to play in this new rink."
Bemidji State jumped out to a 4-0 lead through the first 21 minutes of the game behind two goals each from Lundquist and Erin Cody.
Bailey Bram rallied the Lakers and scored two of the next three unanswered Mercyhurst goals.
Bram's last goal came five minutes into the third period to cut BSU's lead to 4-3, but the Beavers rallied behind McElhinney until Emily Erickson's empty-net goal with 10 seconds remaining put the game away.
"We had to have a good start in goal, and Alana was lights out," Bemidji State head coach Steve Sertich said. "She really stood on her head. I told her last week at Wisconsin that I was going to start her one of the Mercyhurst games. She responded really well."
The Beavers (2-4-0 overall, 0-2 WCHA) earned the weekend split and will host the Minnesota Whitecaps in exhibition play next weekend. Friday's game will be played in Eveleth and Saturday's game will be played 2:07 p.m. at the BREC. The Lakers suffered their first loss of the season after five victories.
Sertich said the Beavers did a much better job of generating scoring opportunities Saturday and it started with putting more shots on goal.
The Beavers were outshot 59-31 in the game, but were able to beat Mercyhurst goalie Hillary Pattenden early.
Lundquist scored the first BSU women's hockey goal in the BREC at 8:24 of the first period on an assist from Erickson.
"That goal was really about Emily Erickson working hard down low," Lundquist said. "She made a great tape-to-tape pass while falling down and I was just able to tap it in."
Lundquist's goal broke an eight-period scoring drought for the Beavers.
It was the start of a big night for the Cody-Lundquist-Erickson line, which accounted for all of BSU's goals and all but one point in the game.
Cody made it 2-0 just 15 seconds into the second period, Lundquist scored with 4:42 left in the second period and Cody put Bemidji State up 3-0 with 39 seconds left in the second period.
The third period was all about McElhinney, who stood strong in the face of a game-high 23 shots in the third period.
"We always think we can win a game and after losing last night's game we wanted to come back in here and take back our rink," McElhinney said.
The junior goalie from Calgary, Alberta, ensured BSU's third victory in the history of the program over a nationally ranked opponent. McElhinney was in net for last year's 2-0 road victory over then No. 9 Wisconsin.
"I'm glad I had the chance to play tonight," McElhinney said. "But we couldn't have done any of this individually by ourselves. Anyone who watched the game tonight could see that. Everyone made some amazing plays tonight and it was a total team effort."
Mercyhurst 0 1 2 - 3
Bemidji State 1 3 1 - 5
First period - 1, BSU, Lundquist (Erickson) 8:24.
Second period - 2, BSU, Cody (Lundquist) :15. 3, BSU, Lundquist, 15:18. 4, BSU, Cody (Vichorek) 19:21. 5, MC, Bendus (Bestland, Agosta) 19:59.
Third period - 6, MC, Bram (Bendus) :49. 7, MC, Bram (Bendus, Agosta) 15:00 (pp). 8, BSU, Erickson (Cody) 19:50 (empty net).
Shots on goal - MC 16-20-23 59; BSU 7-14-10 31.
Power plays - MC 1 of 7; BSU 0 of 3.
Penalties - MC-W 7 (14 min); BSU 7 (14 min).
Goalies - MC-W, Hillary Pattenden (30 shots-26 saves); BSU, McElhinney, Alana (59-56).
Penalty shots - None.