BEMIDJI, Minn. - Rebounding from a 7-1 defeat the previous night, the Bemidji State University women's hockey skated with the No. 1 Badgers into overtime, but the Beavers couldn't hang-on as Wisconsin's leading goal scorer, Hilary Knight, tallied to the game winner at 2:46 in the extra period to deal the Beavers the agonizing 3-2 defeat Saturday night at the Sanford Center.
The story of the night was the performance between the pipes for Bemidji State. Alana McElhinney (Jr., Calgary, Alberta) made 43 saves on the night including a blistering 24 in the second period alone. The Badgers attempted a total of 94 shots in the contest, with 31 being blocked by the defensive corps. Even with the great defensive effort in front of her, McElhinney still had her work cut out for her making numerous saves on the move as the Badgers were looking for back-door goals all game long, just like they did the night before. The 43 saves was her third most of her career so far at BSU.
Knowing that they needed to come out with more determination than Friday, the Beavers jumped out to an early lead just 5:42 into the start of the game. Erin Cody (Sr., Fwd., Roseville, Minn.) scored her 18th goal of the season on BSU's first power play. After receiving the puck from McElhinney, Montana Vichorek (Jr., Def., Moose Lake, Minn.) skated down the ice into the Wisconsin end. Vichorek made a pass over to Cody who got a shot on net, but was denied by UW's tender Alex Rigsby. Cody followed her shot, crashing the net and picked up her own rebound to give the Beavers their first lead of the weekend over the No. 1 team in the nation.
After a sluggish start, the Badgers started to pick up steam in the final minutest ending the first period out-shooting the Beavers 8-7. The Badgers would really turn up their offense in the second period when they rifled off a blistering 24 shots on McElhinney. At the 8:53 mark of the second period, Bemidji State scored a goal, again from Cody, but the referees reviewed play and determined that there was goaltender interference and waived off the goal. Wisconsin seemed to respond to the goal being waived off, and making save after save, McElhinney and the Beavers finally conceded a goal at the 15:02 mark. The goal was a well deserved one as the Mallory Deluce deflected a shot out of midair to tie the game at 1-1. BSU would hold strong in the period and head into the final stanza being out shot 32-11.
Keeping their momentum rolling the Badgers pressed on and score a power-play goal to take their first lead of the game at the 14:50 mark. Like with the first goal, this Badger's had to work their way past McElhinney. In a series of tic-tac-toe passing, Wisconsin was able to draw the Beavers out of position before dishing the puck to the tape of Mallory Deluce who was sitting wide open in the crease with an empty net in front of her.
Down by one with the final minutes ticking away, Marlee Wheelhouse (Jr., Def., Crookston, Minn.) intercepted a dump in by the Badgers and turned on her wheels up ice. Skating past two forechecking Badgers, Wheelhouse made a cut across the top of the slot and tucked in a beauty of a goal, just over Rigsby's blocker and under the cross bar.
With the game tied at 2-2, the two teams headed into overtime looking for a victor. Unfortunately for the Beavers they would drop their first overtime game goal since Dec. 13, 2008 when BSU lost to North Dakota 4-3 in overtime. UW's leading goal scorer and Olympian Hilary Knight scored a goal halfway through the extra period after wheeling around the zone looking for an open shot.
Bemidji State now drops to 12-13-3 (10-11-3-2 WCHA) on the season and owns a losing record for the first time since losing to then. No. 5 Wisconsin earlier in the season on Nov. 8.
Bemidji State will hit the road next weekend to taking on a nationally-ranked team for the third straight weekend when they face-off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ridder Arena over the Feb. 11-12 weekend. Game times are set for 6:07 p.m. on Friday and 4:07 p.m. on Saturday.