DETROIT — The Wayne State Warriors (1-1-0) split their season-opening series against the Bemidji State Beavers (1-1-0) with a 4-2 win Saturday afternoon.
Despite Friday night’s 0-for-6 power play outcome, the Warriors redeemed themselves, creating more offense and capitalizing on three-of-five power play opportunities, two of which were scored in the first period.
“We played pretty hard for 60 minutes, especially the first five minutes of the first,” said Warriors’ coach Jim Fetter. “It was one of those where it was a hard fought battle. It wasn’t an easy win, (but) it was a good character win.”
The Warriors also received solid goaltending from Delayne Brian, who stopped a total of 61 shots this weekend.
“She’s a goaltender that we recruited a while ago, and we’re high on her,” Fetter said of Brian. “She’s finally starting to get the confidence, and is playing the way we expect her to.”
Forward Julie Ingratta, who was the second star of the game, scored two power-play goals. Her first goal snapped the 0-0 tie and helped boost her team’s momentum, which allowed captain Veronique Laramee-Paquette to put her team up 2-0.
“Getting the first goal is always a confident booster,” Ingratta said. “It puts in my mind ‘we’re ahead, let’s keep it going instead of let’s catch up.’”
Each team scored a pair of goals in the second period, but it was Wayne State forward Alyssa Baldin who lifted her team to victory after a two-on-one breakaway when she tallied her fourth career game-winning goal. Baldin’s goal came just over a minute after Ingratta’s shot through the slot at 11:32 that beat the left pad of Beavers’ goaltender Alana McElhinney, who stopped nine shots.
Back-and-forth hockey emerged in the third period, as Bemidji State applied pressure on the Wayne State defense. The Beavers’ took advantage of a power play opportunity late in the third by pulling their goaltender for a sixth attacker, but fell short. The final period remained scoreless.
“We had a lot of chances; we kept peppering the net hoping one would pop in and a couple more would follow it but it just never happened,” said Bemidji State captain Emily Erickson. Erickson scored one of two goals for the Beavers; the other goal was scored by Erin Johnson early in the second.
The Warriors will prepare to head out on the road until Nov. 19, when they will host rivals and defending CHA champions the Mercyhurst Lakers. Their next game is set against St. Cloud State on Oct. 8.
“We’ve got some tough teams coming up,” Fetter said. “It’s good to at least get a split, but we have to start getting ready for next week.”