BEMIDJI, Minn. - The No. 9 Bemidji State University women’s hockey team will begin Western Collegiate Hockey Association conference play Friday and Saturday. The Beavers (3-0-1, 0-0-0 WCHA) host the University of Minnesota Duluth (2-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) for a two-game series at Sanford Center.
The Bulldogs are on the road for the second consecutive week after traveling to No. 2 Boston College and play a ranked team for the second week in a row. UMD dropped both games against the Eagles, losing 4-1 Friday and 4-2 Saturday. Minnesota Duluth opened the season with two wins against Lindenwood University.
Beavers Earn Two wins on the road
Bemidji State earned its first season sweep last weekend and its first two wins on the road. BSU defeated the University of Vermont 2-1 in its first game, and then shutout the Catamounts 3-0 in game two. The Beavers were strong defensively in game one, out-shooting UVM 33-12. Madison Hutchinson and Hanna Moher each recorded two-points in the game after Hutchinson scored the game-winning goal and Moher tallied two assists. Sophomore Emma Terres scored the first goal on the power play and senior Whitney Wivoda added an assist to close out the Beaver scoring.
The Beavers followed that performance with another strong defensive effort. Junior goaltender Brittni Mowat helped BSU earn a 3-0 shutout after she stopped all 30 shots by the Catamounts. The shutout marks the first of the season for Mowat, and the 11th of her career. Hutchinson recorded two points for the second-consecutive game after tallying two assists. BSU had eight student-athletes contribute points in the game, and Ciscely Nelson, Kristin Huber, and Hanna Moher each scored goals for the Beavers.
A Look at the Bulldogs
Minnesota Duluth enters the weekend’s play after receiving two votes in the latest USCHO.com national poll. The Bulldogs have two point-getters in the top seven of the WCHA in Ashleigh Brykaliuk (2-4=6), who is tied for first, and Lara Stalder (4-1=5) ,who is tied for fifth. Stalder is also tied for the conference lead in goals (4). In net, the Bulldogs are led by Kayla Black, who has compiled a 2-1-0 record so far this season with a 2.61 GAA and .904 save percentage.
The Bulldogs have one of the lowest scoring offenses this season after averaging 2.75 goals per game to rank seventh in the WCHA. They also allow 3.00 goals per game, also ranking them seventh. Minnesota Duluth has converted on just one of 17 power plays this season for a power-play percentage of .059. In 16 shorthanded situations, the Bulldogs have stopped 13 for a penalty kill percentage of 81.2. Those numbers rank eighth and seventh in the conference, respectively.
Bemidji State will try to reverse history
Bemidji State will have history against them in this weeks match-up. In a series dating back to 1999, the Bulldogs have won 62 of 72 games for a winning percentage of .861. Minnesota Duluth leads the series 62-8-2, but the Beavers have won three of the last five, including the last meeting, where BSU defeated the Bulldogs 2-1 in overtime in the WCHA Playoffs. The Beavers rallied back in the game after being down 1-0 late. Captain Hannah Moher sent the game into overtime when she scored with 33.9 seconds remaining. Kaitlyn Tougas then netted the game-winner in overtime to clinch the first round victory.
Senior Ivana Bilic leads all current Beavers with nine points against Minnesota Duluth in 15 games. She is followed by Tougas with eight points and Stephanie Anderson with seven points in 11 career games against the Bulldogs. Brittni Mowat is the only active goaltender to face the Bulldogs and is 4-7-0 in her career against UMD with a GAA of 1.71 and .949 save percentage.
Hot Start For the WCHA
The eight teams of the women’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) have jumped out to a quick start to the 2015-16 campaign, posting an NCAA-best 17-3-2 (.818) mark over 22 nonconference games. Six of the league’s teams went undefeated during the first round of nonconference play, while the entire membership is .500 or better entering the first weekend of WCHA competition.
NCAA’s Leading Conference
The WCHA has an NCAA-best four teams in both the USCHO.com (tied with ECAC Hockey) and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. Minnesota remains the unanimous No. 1 in both rankings, followed by No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 6 North Dakota and No. 9 Bemidji State. Minnesota Duluth is receiving votes in both polls, while St. Cloud State also received votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ledger.
For more information on the Bemidji State hockey program, 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 wooden region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, BSU 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).