BEMIDJI, Minn. - Two goals from junior Clair DeGeorge and 38 saves by redshirt junior Lauren Bench led the Beavers to a 3-2 upset win over No. 1 University of Wisconsin in their Western Collegiate Hockey Association series finale Saturday. With the win, the Beavers (13-10-1, 7-7-0 WCHA) garnered three points in the WCHA standings and hold fourth place by six points.
This is the second time in two years that Bemidji State upset the top-ranked Badgers (21-2-1, 11-2-1 WCHA) on home ice and is just the second loss for the Badgers this season.
Bemidji State started quick against the Badgers when Clair DeGeorge corralled a rebound from a Mak Langei shot and pushed it past goaltender Kristen Cambell for the game's first tally just 5:49 into the opening period. The Beavers increased their lead to 2-0 just seven minutes later when Abby Halluska crashed the net and scored her sixth goal of the season at 13:44 of the period. The Beavers finished the period with the two-goal lead and held a 10-9 shot advantage on the scoreboard.
The second period started with Wisconsin dominating early on and eventually broke through with its first goal at 6:16 of the frame when Sophie Shirley sniped home a power-play goal for her 21st of the season. The Badgers weren't finished and just 58 seconds later tied the game off the stick of Caitlin Schneider. However, the Beavers then responded when DeGeorge scored her second goal of the game just 1:17 after the Badgers tied the game. Bemidji State entered the second intermission with the 3-2 lead but Wisconsin dominated the shot chart during the Beavers and out-shot the Beavers 14-5 in the period and 23-15 in the game.
Wisconsin continued that pressure into the final frame looking for the equalizing goal. The Badgers outshot the Beavers 17-3 in the period but Bench and the Beavers' defense came up strong and turned aside all 17 shots. The Beavers blocked 10 shots during the period including three by Mak Langei in the final two minutes. The Beavers finished with 23 total blocked shots, led by Langei with seven, paving the way for the Beavers' upset victory. Langei also contributed two assists on offense and was named the game's third star for her efforts.
Wisconsin gained a power play halfway through the third period but the Beavers' penalty kill denied the Badgers of the game-tying goal and held them 1-for-2 with the extra attacker. BSU came up empty on its lone chance of the game in the first period.
Lauren Bench improves to 10-8-1 on the season and sets a career-high with her 10th win after she stopped 38-of-40 shots while Kristen Campbell earns just her second loss of the season and falls to 20-2-1 after stopping 15-of-18 shots.
Bemidji State jumps right back into action next weekend when they travel to Duluth, Minn., to take on No. 10 University of Minnesota Duluth, Jan. 17-18. The Beavers hold a six-point lead over the Bulldogs in the WCHA standings who had the weekend off from play.