BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University women’s ice hockey team will travel east this weekend to battle No. 9 University of Minnesota Duluth in the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Playoffs. The Beavers go into the tournament as the No. 5 seed after going 18-15-1 in the regular season, while the Bulldogs are the No. 4 seed after a 19-10-5 mark this season.
About the Beavers
The Beavers come into the playoffs having won four of their last six games with the two losses coming by a combined three goals to No. 2 Minnesota last weekend.
BSU has six skaters that have 15 or more points this season, which is the most since the 2011-12 season. Juniors Kaitlyn Tougas and Ivana Bilic have led the way with 26 and 21 points, respectively. Tougas leads the team with five multi-point games this season, while Bilic paces BSU’s blue liners in goals (5), assists (16), shots on goal (83) and plus/minus rating (+11).
Goaltender Brittni Mowat has started 28 of the 34 games in net for the Beavers this season. The Glenboro, Manitoba native has a 16-11-1 record with an 1.70 goals against average and .943 save percentage. Mowat’s 16 victories are a new program record for the most victories by a goaltender in a single season.
About Minnesota Duluth
Minnesota Duluth enters the postseason fresh off a sweep of Ohio State last weekend. The Bulldogs will be at home to begin their postseason push for the 16th consecutive season when they host the Beavers. UMD is 11-5-2 when playing on its home ice this season, including a 5-2-1 mark in 2015.
Senior Zoe Hickel has been UMD’s top offensive weapon this season with 31 points (18g, 13). Not far behind Hickel is Lara Stadler who ranks second in the WCHA for scoring by a defenseman with 29 points (10g, 19a). In addition to Hickel and Stadler, the Bulldogs have four more skaters that have tallied 20 or more points.
Kayla Black has seen time in net in 33 of the 34 games for UMD this season. Black is 18-10-5 with an 1.75 goals against average and .935 save percentage this season. Black’s 18 victories and .935 save perentage rank seventh and eighth nationally, respectively.
Bemidji State was swept by Minnesota over the weekend by scores of 3-2 and 4-2 at Sanford Center. The Beavers finish their home schedule with a 9-7-0 record, their highest win total at home since the 2010-11 season when they also had nine wins.
Bemidji State finishes the regular season with an 18-15-1 record overall and a 13-14-1 mark in WCHA play. Both win totals are the most in program history for the Beavers. With 41 points in conference play, BSU has drawn the No. 5 seed for the postseason, which ties a program record for its highest finish.
Defense has been a major contributor to BSU’s success this season as it ranks in the top 10 nationally in several major defensive categories including: blocked shots (1st, 611), penalty-kill percentage (4th, .907) and scoring defense (9th, 1.79).
Point on the Point Leader
Junior Kaitlyn Tougas tallied a goal in Friday’s 3-2 loss to Minnesota. Tougas leads the team with 26 points (12g, 14a), which is the most for a BSU skater since 2011-12 when former Beaver Sadie Lundquist had 35 points.
Senior Ends Sanford Center Career on High Note
Senior Alex Citrowske closed out her career at Sanford Center with a pair of points (1g, 1a) against Minnesota over the weekend. Citrowske, who is a captain on this season’s team, has eight points (4g, 4a) in her final season as a Beaver.
Mowat in the Record Books
Goaltender Brittni Mowat finished the regular season with a 16-11-1 record with an 1.70 goals against average and .943 save percentage. Despite being a sophomore, Mowat already has entered BSU’s goaltending career record book for several categories including: games (61, t-5th), minutes played (3543:05, 5th), shutouts (9, 2nd), wins (26, 3rd) and saves (1,650, 5th).
Freshman Making Her Mark
Defenseman Alexis Joyce leads all BSU freshmen with 17 points (4g, 13a) this season. Her 17 points rank second behind Lisa Peters (27 points) on the all-time freshman defenseman scoring list. Joyce also ranks second nationally with 108 blocked shots behind teammate Ivana Bilic (129).
Series/Playoff History vs. Minnesota Duluth
BSU is 6-61-2 all-time against Minnesota Duluth with two of the victories coming this season. All six of BSU’s wins in the series have come in the last five seasons. This will be just the third time the Beavers and Bulldogs have matched up in the postseason and the first since the 2011 WCHA Final Faceoff. The two teams split the season series 2-2-0 with each team winning in the other’s home building once.
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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).