Erin Cody can be glad she wasn’t born any time before 1988.You can bet her Bemidji State teammates are thankful for that, too. After all, she would have missed playing her senior season in the gleaming new Bemidji Regional Events Center.
And they would have missed her contribution to what proved to be a most stylish christening of the building.
As it was, the BREC celebrated its grand opening last weekend, and the Beavers provided it with an instant memory by downing the No. 1 ranked team in the land, Mercyhurst, 5-3, in the second women’s game ever played within its walls.
Cody, who is among the school’s all-time scoring leaders, played a large part in the upset by scoring two goals, including what proved to be the game-winner.
She also lent a strong hand of stability to the young squad over the last few shaky minutes.
“I don’t think it hit me until after the game,” said the psychology major from Roseville, Minn. “You just know that you have to keep winning a period at a time. We just tried to play it as though we were down one or tied. We were just hoping to pop in a goal or two.”
They did that and then some. Bemidji surprised the Lakers with a first period goal from Cody’s liney, Sadie Lundquist, then poured in three more in the second stanza to take a 4-0 lead.
Still, before the Beavers could pinch themselves, Vicki Bendus, the reigning Kazmaier Award winner, popped in a goal with one second remaining in the period.
It was a deflating development, but Cody said that no one was fumbling for the panic button.
“I think the biggest part,” she said, “was concentrate on playing your systems, and not getting too excited, or get running (around). It was easy to do in the third period when they started getting a goal or two.”
In fact the Lakers crept to within a goal, thanks to a pair of Bailey Bram markers, and still had five minutes left in which to get the game-tying tally.
However, Bemidji goalie Alana McElhinney made 18 of her 53 saves in that stanza, and after an empty-netter by Emily Erickson with 10 seconds to play, the Beavers could finally exhale.
“People started to get nervous,” Cody said, “and were starting to run around. But everyone showed a lot of passion out on the ice. We had girls diving and blocking shots. You could just tell that we wanted the win. I would have to say more than Mercyhurst (did).”
The new building has been open for two weeks now, but Cody said she’s still rubbing her eyes in disbelief at all the perks.
“As far as the locker rooms, go,” she said, “I think we’re still in awe. It feels like we’re still traveling on the road. Just visiting. Like the North Dakota rink. We are all still excited and taking it all in.”
Beating Mercyhurst, Cody said, made the BREC seem home like.
“We gained respect,” she said. “It showed that we deserved to be in there.”
The BREC replaces the venerable John S. Glas Fieldhouse, which served as the home of Beavers hockey since 1967. Cody said that Although there is so much to like about the BREC, she’ll always have a soft spot in her heart for the old barn.
“I’m really happy I was in there for three years,” she said. “I think it was a big part of hockey culture in general. Just going down the hallway and having fans down there. There are a lot of good times in that arena that I’ll cherish.”