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Lakers, Olympic star too much for BSU women's hockey team

Bemidji State's MacKenzie Thurston, right, and Mercyhurst's Cassea Schols battle for the puck in the second period Friday at the Bemidji Regional Event Center. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

The Bemidji State women's hockey team was unable to slow down the nation's top-ranked team in a 4-0 loss to Mercyhurst at the Bemidji Regional Event Center home opener Friday afternoon.

Meghan Agosta, the Canadian gold-medal winner and the most valuable player at last winter's Vancouver Olympics, led the way for the Lakers and scored back-to-back goals in the first period.

"They're a good team," Bemidji State head coach Steve Sertich said. "Anytime you leave Meghan Agosta alone in the slot the puck is going to be in the back of the net. She's a world-class player for sure."

Bemidji State struggled to generate quality scoring opportunities against a strong Lakers defense. Mercyhurst goalie Hillary Pattenden finished with 26 saves.

"It was just a few small things tonight that cost us the game," Bemidji State captain Erin Cody said. "I feel like the effort was there for us but we just have to have someone put the puck in the back of the net. I thought we did well when we had a forecheck going."

But most of BSU's shots were limited to the edges of the rink, and the Beavers were 0 for 5 on the power play. Mercyhurst was 2 for 4 on the power play behind goals in the third period from Kelley Steadman and Cassea Schols.

Bemidji State goalie Zuzana Tomcikova, who played for her native Slovakia in last year's Olympics, finished with 29 saves.

"The biggest thing for us is that we need to get the power play going and if we can get some opportunities there things are going to turn out better for us," Cody said.

The Beavers (1-4 overall) and the Lakers (5-0) will wrap up the the weekend series at 2:07 p.m. Saturday at the BREC.

Sertich is hoping the Beavers can replicate Friday's second period for Saturday's game. Mercyhurst did not score in the second period and edged the Beavers in shots 10-9.

"I really like what Montana Vichorek did on defense in the second period, settling things down a bit," Sertich said. "But their goaltending was good and we have to get some traffic in front of her. We have to muck it up in the middle so we can get some opportunities."

Sertich said the team was anxious to play at the new rink heading into the game and it took the players a full period to adjust to the new atmosphere.

The Beavers skated onto the rink to a laser light show with player introductions shown on the video scoreboard.

Goalie Alanna McElhinney was shown smiling on the scoreboard as the Beavers waited to skate onto the ice for the first time.

"There was so much adrenaline going on right there and it was just super exciting," Cody said. "It really is an honor to play here and we tried to take some of that in. We want to play well in here because we respect the place and we think we deserve to play here."