BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) - The Bemidji State women's hockey team fell to No. 6 University of Wisconsin 2-0 at home Friday night to kick off the final series of the regular season. The loss was the Beavers' fifth in a row and was the game marked third time in that span in which the game was decided by one or two goals.
With one game left to play before the postseason begins, BSU sits in eighth place in the WCHA, two points behind seventh place St. Cloud State University. Bemidji State needs to beat the Badgers in tomorrow's rematch and will need top-ranked Minnesota to defeat SCSU to pass the Huskies. If that happens, the Beavers will travel to the University of North Dakota to start the playoffs. If they remain in eighth, they will head south to play the undefeated Gophers in Minneapolis.
The game got off to a fast start in the first minute when BSU's Emily Erickson (R-Sr., F, Coleraine, Minn.) fired a shot high on a breakaway that was set up by an Erika Wheelhouse (Sr., D, Crookston, Minn.) homerun pass. UW immediately transition and forced goaltender Jessica Havel (Sr., Grand Rapids, Minn.) to make a save on Blayre Turnbull, who got in alone.
The Badgers carried play for the remainder of the first and outshot Bemidji State 9-3 in the frame. This play continued in the middle stanza and allowed Wisconsin to jump out to a lead it would not relinquish.
UW broke through with 2:01 left in the frame when Madison Packer dished the puck to Jordan Brickner at the blue line. Bricker carried the puck around the net and hit Molly Doner at the edge of the crease where Doner knocked home her first career goal.
After being outshot 19-7 through two periods, BSU picked up the offensive tempo in the third and began to test Wisconsin netminder Alex Rigsby, but couldn't find the back of the net. The best chance of the period for the Beavers came when a Tess Dusik (Jr., D/F, Oak Bluff, Manitoba) point shot made it through traffic and hit the knob of Rigsby's stick.
Brooklyn Decker capped the scoring my hitting an empty-netter with a tenth of a second remaining.
Havel finished the night with 25 saves. Bemidji State blocked 39 of the Badgers' 86 shooting attempts. Wheelhouse racked up 12 blocks while Molly Arola (Sr., F, Walker, Minn.) and Ivana Bilic (Fr., D, Coquitlam, British Columbia) had six apiece.
The Beavers will conclude their regular season Saturday afternoon at 4:07 at the Sanford Center. BSU will honor its eight seniors with a Senior Day celebration following the game.