ERIE, Pa. — Mercyhurst coach Mike Sisti must have liked his chances going into Saturday’s game against Bemidji State. The Beavers had never won against a ranked team nor had they ever beaten the Lakers in six tries. That all changed in one day.
Beaver junior goalie Jill Lubke played the game of her life in the 2-1 upset of the No. 8 Lakers (0-1) before a crowd of 168. She proved her worth by stopping 46 of 47 shots, including three breakaways, a number of second chances, and a flurry of shots at the end.
“Lubke was named Rookie of the Year in the WCHA two years ago and had an off year last year,” said Bemidji coach Bruce Olson. “You know we are going to have to have great goaltending like that because we are a young team and she has the capability of doing that.”
Aimee Collins, who transferred from Mercyhurst to Bemidji this past season, scored the only goal of the first period on the power play. The Beavers (1-0) went into the second period up 1-0 even though they were outshot 14-3 in the period.
“It was a great feeling to come back to this rink and play even though sitting on the other side was different,” Collins said.
Collins has been used to good goaltending considering the netminder on the other end of the rink, Desi Clark, was on her side the last two years. Collins had nothing but praise for her new goaltender.
“Lubke stood on her head today,” Collins said. “Nothing better than having a goalie that can do that for your team.”
Clark, the CHA’s preseason player of the year, stoned a couple breakaways of her own in keeping the game close. Clark wasn’t tested as much as Lubke but did have to make 12 saves of her own.
The Lakers looked like they would get on the board early in the third period when they came out playing inspired hockey, but instead the Beavers scored the next goal when their top returning scorer Kelly Hart knocked in a rebound from Helena Tageson for a 2-0 lead. The best chance the Lakers had the whole game was a breakaway from Sara McDonald, only to be stopped when Lubke made an incredible glove save.
“I just stayed focused and concentrated on the puck whenever it was in my end,” Lubke said.
Mercyhurst made a game of it at the 19:01 mark when Michelle Bonello scored on the power play with an extra attacker. It was almost tied up seconds later when Teresa Marchese of Mercyhurst hit the crossbar.
Coach Sisti knew Bemidji was not going to be a pushover.
“From top to bottom they have good depth and I knew it was going to be a good game,” he said.
Tomorrow, the Lakers are going to have to find a way to put the puck past Lubke or they may find themselves 0-2 on the year. Bemidji would love to go home with two road wins and their second win ever over a ranked team.