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HOCKEY DAY MINNESOTA: WOMEN'S HOCKEY: BSU goes cold in 2-1 Hockey Day loss

BSU junior Kiki Radke (8) goes on a drive with the puck in Saturday’s Minnesota Hockey Day game against Minnesota State in Bemidji. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
BSU junior Abby Halluska (21) controls the puck in Saturday’s Minnesota Hockey Day game against Minnesota State in Bemidji. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI—The memories made by the Bemidji State women's hockey team Saturday afternoon will last a lifetime.

Despite falling 2-1 to Minnesota State in a nonconference game, the Beavers will remember so much else about playing on Hockey Day Minnesota.

"I know growing up, all us Minnesota kids just kind of pay attention to when Hockey Day is, and all of us dream of playing in it one day," said BSU sophomore and East Grand Forks native Mak Langei. "Thankfully this year it was in Bemidji and we are lucky enough to play in it.

"Everybody was out there having fun, having a good time. Not the outcome we wanted obviously but still good competition."

Langei, who tallied her first goal of the season in the first period to tie the game, is not the first member of her family to play outdoors for the Beavers.

Her grandfather Rick Budge played for the Bemidji State men's hockey program from 1962-66, an era when the Beavers played all their home games outdoors. Budge did not attend Saturday's game due to the frigid conditions, though Langei made sure a piece of him was there by donning his jersey for pregame warmups.

"He wasn't here tonight because he said it was too cold for him," Langei said. "He said a couple years ago he would have, but he watched it at home. So I just wore the jersey out there being that all four years that he was here he played outside. I just thought it was cool that I could play for him in a way tonight, just being outside in the type of atmosphere that he played in."

The sun took some of the sting out of the cold by the time the game started shortly after 1 p.m. Temperatures hovered around 3 below zero, a far cry from the minus 26 degree conditions at opening faceoff in the morning game between Minnetonka and Andover that set a Hockey Day record.

The sun provided more of a challenge, especially for the goalies.

"The glare was definitely was big factor for goalies," said BSU sophomore goalie Lauren Bench. "Just being able to see pucks through that sun was tough. The eye black actually made a pretty big difference."

"With that sun it was hard to see the lines," added Langei. "Sometimes you have the puck and you go, 'OK, I have three more feet,' but then all of a sudden there's the line right there. You just try to pick your head up a little bit and look at the boards if you have to every once in a while and try to push through that snow."

The Mavericks (9-11-4, 3-10-2-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) got on the board first with Brooke Bryant's goal just 1 minute, 46 seconds into the game.

Langei levelled the score by firing a shot through traffic for the power-play with 7:15 to play in the opening frame.

The eventual game-winning goal came off the stick of Brittyn Fleming, who redirected a shot from the blue line late in the second period.

All three BSU goalies got a chance to play a period as head coach Jim Scanlan made sure to get all of players a chance to soak in the experience.

"The sun was shining bright the entire game, so that was different," Scanlan said. "But it was obviously crisp, cool air and fast ice. Just all the sounds and sights—the feelings that you always get when you skate outside, I mean they all came rushing back."

That feeling will linger long past Hockey Day Minnesota 2019.

"Just growing up watching it and finally getting the opportunity to play outdoors and really be part of the big day," said Bench, an Eagan native, on her lasting memories of the event. "... It's just a fun weekend. It's something I know we're going to all remember for the rest of our lives."

Minnesota State 2, Bemidji State 1

MSU 1 1 0—2

BSU 1 0 0—1

First period—1, MSU, Bryant (Antony), 1:46; 2, BSU, Langei (Kaasa, Radke), 12:45, PP.

Second period—3, MSU, Fleming (Antony, Dusterhoft), 16:19.

Third period—No scoring.

Goalies (saves-shots)—BSU, Bench (5-6), Baker (7-8), Dowhy (6-6); MSU, Levy (21-22).

Austin Monteith

Austin Monteith is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He is an Illinois native and a Butler University graduate. Follow him on Twitter @amonteith92.

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