MADISON, Wis. — Sophomore goaltender Alana McElhinney (Calgary, Alberta) rose to the occasion on Sunday afternoon picking up her first Western Collegiate Hockey Association win and first career shutout as the Bemidji State University women’s hockey team blanked the No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers 2-0 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.
“I thought our first period was great. You could tell the players were ready to play and wanted to make amends for yesterday,” said head coach Steve Sertich. “We were a completely different team today, the players had good jump, battled-hard for loose pucks, and of course McElhinney was outstanding in net tonight.”
Coming off a 6-1 loss in the Culver’s Camp Randall Hockey Classic on Saturday, the Beavers looked to redeem themselves. Starting the game, BSU grabbed an early goal on the power play. Keirstin Visser (Fr., Def., Crapaud, Prince Edward Island) took a shot from point which was deflected to the corner by Wisconsin goalie Becca Ruegsegger. Annie Bauerfeld (Jr., For., Woodbury, Minn.) picked-up the loose puck and played it up high to Montana Vichorek (So., Def., Moose Lake, Minn.). Vichorek took a shot on net that was deflected by a Wisconsin defender before fluttering past Ruegsegger’s left leg.
The Beavers would end the first period with a 1-0 lead while owning the shot department 10-6. In the second period Wisconsin came out looking to even the score, but only found the front McElhinney’s pads. Just five minutes into the period, McElhinney was forced to make a scrambled save when a shot from the point was deflected up into the air and landed in front of the crease right on the stick of Briana Decker. With the efforts in net, the Beavers entered the third with their 1-0 lead still intact.
Wanting more than an one-goal lead the Beavers entered the third looking to put the game away. Bemidji State got the insurance goal they were looking for when Mallory Deluce went to the sin-bin for tripping. Emily Erickson (R-Fr., For., Coleraine, Minn.) won the offensive-zone face off to Bauerfeld. Just like the first goal, Bauerfeld played it up to the point to Vichorek, but instead of shooting it Vichorek found Erin Cody (Jr.. For., Roseville, Minn.) back-door for the tap-in goal.
Wisconsin wasn’t about to roll over and kept up the pressure on the BSU defense. McElhinney made crucial save off a one timer in the third to preserve the Bemidji State win. UW’s Jasmine Giles was sitting in the right slot and took a one-timer toward the bottom corner of the net. McElhinney slid over to her left post blocking the shot with her leg pad. When Bemidji State took two penalties in the second half of the third period, the BSU penalty-kill made sure that McElhinney walked out of the Kohl Center with her first WCHA win.
“Personally, it’s nice to get it out of the way,” said McElhinney about the win. “However, every game we go in looking to win, and today we really wanted to win after getting beat 6-1 yesterday.”
McElhinney made 36 saves en route to her first career shutout, including 17 in the third period.
With the win Bemidji State (9-14-7, 8-9-7-3 WCHA) sits in fourth place with 26 points, just one point behind Wisconsin (16-11-3, 13-10-1-0 WCHA) in the WCHA standings. Both St. Cloud State and Ohio State split their weekend series and still remain in fifth and six places, respectively.
Bemidji State will play a home-and-home series against North Dakota next weekend. On Friday the Beavers host the Sioux at 7:07 p.m. at the John S. Glas Fieldhouse before traveling to Grand Forks on Saturday for a 7:07 p.m. game at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
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