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WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Joyce, Beavers split with Mavericks after 5-3 win

MANKATO -- Alexis Joyce put on a career-best four-point performance Saturday afternoon to help the Bemidji State women’s hockey team outlast Minnesota State 5-3 at the Verizon Center and earn the series split.

Joyce, a senior, pocketed a goal and three assists to become the second-highest scoring defenseman in program history with 78 career points (21g-57a).

The Beavers (13-14-3, 8-10-2-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) earned three points in the WCHA standings with the victory and are now only a point behind fourth-place Minnesota Duluth.

Emma Terres, Emily Bergland and Mak Langei each had multipoint games, as well, after the trio each recorded a goal and an assist. Lauren Bench made 21 saves in net to improve to 8-7-0 on the season.

The Mavericks (4-23-1, 2-18-0-0 WCHA) took an early lead off Hannah Davidson’s goal 4 minutes, 6 seconds in and led 1-0 entering the second period.

BSU scored three unanswered goals in the middle frame to assume a 3-1 lead. Joyce began the run with her fifth goal of the season at 4:47, followed by a goal from Terres just 1:30 later. Melissa Hunt extended the lead to two with her first goal of the season at the 11:21 mark.

The Beavers took the two-goal lead into the third period, but MSU twice narrowed the deficit to one goal. Demi Gardner scored at 4:10 of the frame before Langei scored 2 minutes, 30 seconds later. Jordan McLaughlin again made it a one-goal game in the final four minutes, but Bergland buried an empty-netter with 36 seconds left to seal the win.

The Beavers outshot the Mavericks 29-24 for the game, and each team finished 0-for-2 on the power play.

Bemidji State will return home for its final home series of the season next weekend, Feb. 9-10, with a WCHA series against St. Cloud State. The team will honor its six seniors as a part of senior weekend at the Sanford Center.

Bemidji State 5, Minnesota State 3

BSU 0 3 2 -- 5

MSU 1 0 2 -- 3

First period -- 1, MSU, Davidson (Truax, Kolstad), 4:06.

Second period -- 2, BSU, Joyce (Terres, Bergland), 4:47; 3, BSU, Terres (Joyce, Langei), 6:17; 4, BSU, Hunt (DeGeorge, Beebe), 11:21.

Third period -- 5, MSU, D. Gardner (M. Gardner), 4:10; 6, BSU, Langei (Joyce), 6:40; 7, MSU, McLaughlin (Hinze, Fleming), 16:55; 8, BSU, Bergland (Joyce, Kampa), 19:24, EN.

Goaltending (Shots-Saves) -- BSU, Bench (24-21); MSU, Crosby (29-24).