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Beaver women tie Wisconsin, lose in shootout

MADISON, Wis. – The Bemidji State University women's hockey team fell behind by a goal twice in the third period on the road against the No. 6/9 University of Wisconsin, but rallied back both times to salvage a 3-3 tie before dropping a 2-0 shootout decision. Thanks to a 1-0 victory over the Badgers on Friday in the first-ever game at UW's brand-new LaBahn Arena, BSU earned four of a possible six points on the weekend.

MacKenzie Thurston (Sr., F, Ottawa, Ont.), Rachael Kelly (So, F, Rosemount, Minn.), and Sadie Lunquist (Sr., F, Cloquet, Minn.) each recorded her first goal of the season in the game and goaltender Abby Ryplanski (So., Winnipeg, Man.) was spectacular between the pipes, stopping 42 of 45 Badger shots.

The 1-0-1 weekend gives BSU its first series win over Wisconsin in program history and moves the Beavers’ 2012-13 record to 2-3-1 with a 1-2-1-0 mark in the WCHA. Wisconsin, who had been shutout in its previous three contests, is now 3-3-2 with a 1-1-2 conference ledger and leads the all-time series 47-4-3.

For the second straight game after allowing the first goal in its first four games, Bemidji State got on the board first on Sunday.

Just as the five-minute mark of regulation came and went, Thurston forced a Badger turnover in the offensive zone and rifled a shot from the high slot into the top left corner past UW netminder Alex Rigsby. Thurston matched her junior season goal total of one with the marker. Ryplanski stopped all 11 Wisconsin offerings she saw in the frame and BSU led after 20 minutes for the first time all year.

After an Abby Williams (R-Sr., F, Alexandria, Minn.) goal was called back early in the middle stanza for the Beavers, Wisconsin tied the score when 2011-12 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Brianna Decker beat Ryplanski short-side after moving around a BSU defender. Decker’s tally was the first for a Badger at the team’s new barn.

The second period came to a close with the score deadlocked and Wisconsin came out flying after the intermission, taking nine shots in the first 3:22 of the third before Courtney Burke notched her first collegiate goal to make it 2-1.

The outlook was bleak for the Beavers, who didn’t register a shot on goal in the opening 12:29 of the final frame, but a pair of Badger penalties by Decker and Kim Drake turned the tide.

Wisconsin was able to kill of a 1:11 five-on-three BSU opportunity, but before the Decker left the penalty box to make things even, Thurston fired a shot from the point that Kelly tipped past Rigsby to tie the score. Thurston took the team’s scoring lead with the assist, pulling ahead of first-line sophomore Whitney Wivoda (F, Fairbanks, Ak.), who did not play in Sunday’s game.

The Badgers took another penalty 32 seconds later, but looked to have a regulation victory in hand after Jordan Brickner scored on a shorthanded two-on-one with a shot that beat Ryplanski under the crossbar with 4:46 to play. UW then went on to kill the penalty.

Bemidji State’s last-minute push to tie the score paid off when Lundquist leveled the game with just 56 seconds to play, one second after Ryplanski left the ice for an extra attacker. The goal that made it 3-3 was the first goal of the season for Lundquist, who led the Beavers in scoring a year ago. Kaitlyn Tougas (Fr., F, Thunder Bay, Ont.) and Emily Erickson (Sr., F, Coleraine, Minn.) picked up assists on the play. The helper was Erickson’s first point of the young season.

After time expired in regulation and in a five-minute overtime session, UW went on to claim the extra point by winning 2-0 in the shootout. Decker and Madison Packer scored for the Badgers and Rigby stopped Lundquist and Friday hero Kristin Huber (So., F, Kelowna, B.C.).

The shootout, which came after Ryplanski made a career-high 42 saves, was the first-ever between the two teams.

The Beavers will travel to No. 6/7 Ohio State next weekend in their second-longest road trip of the season. Following the pair of meetings against the Buckeyes, BSU will only leave the state of Minnesota one more time in the 2012-13 regular season when it treks to the University of North Dakota on Feb. 8 and 9.