BEMIDJI, Minn. - The Bemidji State University women’s ice hockey team returns to Sanford Center this weekend as it welcomes Western Collegiate Hockey Association rival University of Minnesota Duluth. Bemidji State is riding a four-game unbeaten streak coming into the weekend (3-0-1).
About the Beavers
Junior Kaitlyn Tougas has led BSU’s offense this season with nine points (2g, 7a). Fellow junior Ivana Bilic has chipped in seven points (1g, 6a), while both Kristin Huber (3g, 3a) and Stephanie Anderson (4g, 2a) have notched six points.
Sophomore Brittni Mowat has handled the bulk of the goaltending duties for BSU this season with a 5-2-1 record, an 1.61 goals against average and .949 in eight games. In addition, Erin Deters has made four starts in net for BSU and has a mark of 2-2-0 with an 1.51 goals against average and .948 save percentage.
About Minnesota Duluth
Minnesota Duluth comes into the weekend with a nine-game winning streak. UMD, which started the season 1-4-2, has outscored its opponents 35-9 during its winning streak.
A key to the Bulldogs’ winning ways can be credited in part to its special teams. UMD has scored the second-most power-play goals in the country (16), while its penalty killing unit ranks ninth nationally with a 88.5 percent success rate.
Sophomore Ashleigh Brykaliuk paces UMD with 18 points (9g, 9a), while Zoe Hickel leads the Bulldogs with 10 goals. Junior Kayla Black has been UMD’s main net minder this season and has a 9-4-2 record with an 1.80 goals against average and .930 save percentage.
Last time out
In Bemidji State’s last action, it swept North Dakota for the first time since 2007. The Beavers knocked off UND 4-1 Friday before finishing off the sweep with a 2-1 victory Saturday.
Bemidji State is off to its second-best start to a season in program history (7-4-1). The only season the Beavers began the season on a better note was the 2011-12 season (7-3-2).
With their 7-4-1 start, the Beavers are ranked in the national polls for the first time since the 2011-12 season. BSU checked in at No. 10 in the USCHO.com Poll and No. 9 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll this week.
Team effort take
Many different players have contributed offensively for the Beavers this season as 18 of the 21 skaters that have dressed for BSU, have scored at least one point.
BSU currently ranks seventh nationally in scoring defense (1.58 goals against per game). Only two WCHA teams rank ahead of the Beavers: Minnesota (4th, 1.20) and Wisconsin (5th, 1.31)
The Beavers have been particularly stingy in games played on Saturday allowing just 1.17 goals per game.
Bemidji State currently ranks second in the nation in blocks per game (17.58). Three Beavers (Ivana Bilic, 2nd, 36, Alexis Joyce, 3rd, 34, Madison Hutchinson, 7th, 27) are in the top 10 nationally in blocked shots, while Lauren Miller ranks second in country in blocked shots for forwards with 22.
Mowat making her mark
Despite being a sophomore, Brittni Mowat is tied for fourth-most wins in program history with 15 victories. Mowat is 5-2-1 this season with an 1.61 goals against average and .949 save percentage.
Bullet on Bilic
Defenseman Ivana Bilic has 23 career points which is the eighth most by a defenseman in BSU history.
Series history vs. Minnesota Duluth
Bemidji State is 4-59-2 all-time against the Bulldogs with one of those victories coming last season (Nov. 23: 1-0 in Duluth, Minn.). All four of BSU’s victories in the series have come in the last 16 meetings. The series this weekend will be the first time that both the Beavers and Bulldogs will be ranked.
Player to watch
One player to watch for Bemidji State against UMD is Ivana Bilic. Bilic has scored three of her five career goals against the Bulldogs, including two last season.
For more information on the Bemidji State athletic programs, tickets or schedules, visit BSUBeavers.com, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).