After building a 3-0 lead, Wisconsin answered Bemidji State’s comeback attempts to claim a 5-3 win Saturday.
Amber Fryklund led a late Bemidji State surge, collecting a goal and two assist in a three-goal third period, but Wisconsin held off the Beavers to collect two critical points in WCHA playoff positioning.
The teams in the race for the third spot in the WCHA Final Five skated to a scoreless first period of play, where the Badgers owned the shots-on-goal advantage 15-3 in the period.
The second period was dominated by Wisconsin, but this time the Badgers managed three goals to take a 3-0 lead into the locker room after two periods of play.
At the 8:07 mark of the second period Steph Millar got the Badgers on the board by scoring the game’s first goal, as she put back the rebound after the BSU goaltender Anik Coté stopped the initial Stephanie Boeckman shot.
Kathy Devereaux gave the Badgers a two-goal lead eight minutes later when she scored a power-play goal, finding the opening between Coté’s pads.
Nikki Burish notched the Badgers’ third goal of the period just 1:07 later (17:18) when she backhanded a pass from Karen Rickard just past the Beaver goaltender as Wisconsin took a three-goal lead into the second intermission.
BSU head coach Bruce Olson must have used the second intermission to fire his team up as it only took the Beavers 88 seconds to come within two of the Badgers.
Fryklund took the pass from Caesare Stimson and beat Jackie MacMillan to bring the score to 3-1. But less than four minutes later Sis Paulsen put the Badgers back up by three when she took advantage of a BSU misdirected pass and skated her way into the zone with enough time to fire a slapshot from the top of the faceoff circle.
Molly Engstrom added to Wisconsin’s lead with a goal banked off the pipe, as the Badgers took advantage of the power play for the second time.
With less than 10 minutes to play, the Beavers began to mount a comeback when Lill Raynard took a pass from Fryklund and put it past MacMillan to close the gap to three, 5-2. Sarah Zuelke brought the Beavers within two when Fryklund and Lisa Peters found the freshman streaking up the boards for her second goal of the season at the 14-minute mark.
The Beavers called time out with 1:40 remaining in the game and added an extra skater, pulling Coté twice to no avail.
Coté made 30 saves in the loss, bringing her season record to 5-9-2, while MacMillan upped her record to 15-6-5 with an 18-save performance.
The loss drops BSU’s overall record to 7-12-6 and 5-9-5 in WCHA competition. The Beavers look to avoid getting swept by a Top 10 team for the second straight weekend as they take to the ice against the Badgers again Sunday afternoon. The game is scheduled for 2:35 p.m. and will be played at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.