BEMIDJI -- Trailing 2-0 in the first intermission Friday night, the Bemidji State women’s hockey team came out with a vengeance the final two periods, scoring four unanswered goals to topple No. 8 Minnesota Duluth 4-2 at the Sanford Center. Senior Haley Mack scored twice to secure three points for the Beavers (2-2-1, 1-0-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) in their league opener.
The win over a nationally ranked opponent was the first by BSU since a 3-2 victory at then-No. 9 Ohio State on Feb. 8, 2019.
“It’s nice to see our team respond the way we did,” Mack said. “We came back, we played hard, we didn’t quit and that’s what I like to see.”
The Bulldogs (3-2-0, 2-1-0 WCHA) went to the locker room with a two-goal lead despite only edging BSU 6-5 in shots on goal. Anna Klein scored at even strength and Jalyn Elmes converted on a 4-on-3 power play.
“I thought they came out and had a lot of jump and had us on our heels,” BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said. “But I just said, ‘We can be better than that.’ Obviously it started with Lauren Bench shutting the door and making some key saves there for us in the second period to keep the deficit where it was.”
Mack put the Beavers on the board with a power-play goal off a pass into the slot by Clair DeGeorge at 9:45 of the second period. She tied the game less than five minutes later with her team-leading fourth goal of the year.
“Haley was one that I challenged,” Scanlan said. “I told her I didn’t think she had her A game in that first period. She’s such a competitor so I know she got ticked at me for saying that.”
“He told me he needed my A game so I figured I should probably step it up a couple notches,” Mack said. “I kind of knew I needed to step it up, too. It always feels good when your coach gives you a little advice and you can take it and go with it.”
Bemidji State held a 16-9 advantage in shots on goal in the second and rode the wave of momentum into the third period.
Midway through the final frame, Paige Beebe broke the tie by tipping in a rebound off the stick of Reece Hunt for the eventual game-winning goal.
The Bulldogs pulled goalie Maddie Rooney for the extra attacker late, but Abby Halluska sealed the win with an empty-netter in the final seconds.
Bench made 19 saves on 21 shots for her first win of the season. Rooney stopped 23 of 26 shots in the loss.
Tina Kampa finished with three assists and now leads the team with five on the season. Beebe also posted three points on the night, including two helpers to go with her goal. Hunt collected two assists.
Eleven penalties were assessed in the game, including six on UMD. Each team finished with one power-play goal.
The Beavers will go for the sweep Saturday. The series finale is set for 3:07 p.m. at the Sanford Center.
“We have to know that our start needs to be better here and going forward,” Mack said. “We know that, but we like the way we responded and we just know that we always have to come out with that intensity every game if we want to win.”
Bemidji State 4, No. 8 Minnesota Duluth 2
UMD 2 0 0 -- 2
BSU 0 2 2 -- 4
First period -- 1, UMD, Klein (Hughes), 2:59; 2, UMD, Elmes (Hughes, Bell), 14:10, 4v3 PP.
Second period -- 3, BSU, Mack (DeGeorge, Beebe), 9:45, PP; 4, BSU, Mack (Hunt, Kampa), 14:36.
Third period -- 5, BSU, Beebe (Hunt, Kampa), 10:02; 6, BSU, Halluska (Beebe, Kampa), 19:54, EN.
Goalies (saves-shots) -- BSU, Bench (19-21); UMD, Rooney (23-26).