BEMIDJI -- Despite an early 1-0 lead, the Bemidji State women’s hockey team surrendered three unanswered first-period goals to ultimately fall 3-2 in the regular-season opener Friday night against Lindenwood at the Sanford Center.
Lydia Passolt lit the lamp eight minutes into the game for the Beavers (0-1-0), only for the Lions (1-2-0) to bury a trio of goals in less than five minutes shortly thereafter.
“I thought our defensive awareness was lacking,” BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said. “The result was they got a 3-1 lead on us. We scored first. Obviously that was big. But they score on a defensive mistake on our part. And then after that, I thought we just had a bit of a lull and they wind up scoring two more.”
Passolt pocketed the first goal of the season for the Beavers at 8:11 of the first period. The junior forward went top shelf off a feed from Tina Kampa for the 1-0 lead.
LU responded by putting three unanswered goals on the board in a span of 4 minutes, 19 seconds to jump ahead 3-1 before the first intermission.
Hannah Alt beat goalie Lauren Bench glove side for the first goal of the flurry. Kayla Martinez handed the visitors from St. Charles, Mo., the lead less than three minutes later by sneaking a low shot through traffic into the back of the net. Then, Lokelani Antonio skated to a partial breakaway on a turnover at the blue line to tally the third goal.
Bemidji State called timeout after Antonio’s goal to try to turn the tide.
“We just talked about defensive awareness,” Scanlan said. “Just making smart decisions with the puck and then just reminding them how important it is to not turn pucks over at the blue line. And that there was a lot of hockey left.”
After finishing level on shots at 9-9 through the first frame, the Beavers outshot Lindenwood 23-7 the rest of the way to end with a 32-16 advantage. BSU attempted 77 total shots, but a tenacious defensive effort by the Lions saw nearly half of them blocked.
“They had 32 blocked shots, so credit them,” Scanlan said. “Their goalie came up big, and we missed the net on some really big chances. But we gave ourselves a chance.”
Kiki Radke buried a power-play goal and Kampa earned her second assist with 3:25 to go as Bemidji State threatened late in regulation. BSU killed a late penalty and then returned to the power play with the goalie pulled for a last-ditch attempt at forcing overtime, but came up empty.
Bench made 13 saves for the Beavers in the loss, while Sophie Wolf totaled 30 stops to earn the win.
BSU killed both Lindenwood power plays and converted on one of its three advantages.
Bemidji State fell to 6-2-2 in season openers since 2010-11 with the two losses coming in each of the last two seasons.
The Beavers will wrap up the nonconference series Saturday with a 3:07 p.m. contest back at the Sanford Center.
“We’ve got another opportunity tomorrow afternoon,” Scanlan said. “You’ve got to have short memories, get regrouped and come out tomorrow and play a full 60.”
Lindenwood 3, Bemidji State 2
LU 3 0 0 -- 3
BSU 1 0 1 -- 2
First period -- 1, BSU, Passolt (Kampa), 8:11; 2, LU, Alt (Martin), 10:46; 3, LU, Martinez (Pora, Hickey), 13:21; 4, LU, Antonio (Ryan), 15:05.
Second period -- No scoring.
Third period -- 5, BSU, Radke (Kampa, Olson), 16:35, PP.
Goalies (saves-shots) -- BSU, Bench (13-16); LU, Wolf (30-32).