BEMIDJI, Minn. - Fresh off its highest ranking in program history, the No. 6 Bemidji State University women’s hockey team will face its highest ranked opponent of the season. The Beavers (6-0-2, 3-0-1 WCHA) continue Western Collegiate Hockey Association play by traveling to No. 3/2 University of Wisconsin (4-0-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) on Friday and Saturday.
Beavers Earn Four Key points
Bemidji State continued its hot start to the season this past weekend by upsetting, then ranked No. 6, University of North Dakota. The Beavers took four out of a possible six points from UND when they played to an 0-0 tie but loss in the shootout Friday, and then defeated North Dakota 2-1 Saturday, when Alexis Joyce scored the game-winning goal with seven seconds left in overtime.
A Look at the Badgers
Wisconsin enters the weekend as the third/second ranked team in the nation, and is tied with No. 1 University of Minnesota for the top spot in the WCHA. The Badgers return home after sweeping St. Cloud State University in a series where they didn’t allow a goal to the Huskies. So far this season, the Badgers have only allowed two goals, and have outscored their opponents 35-2.
The Badgers have the first and second ranked scoring defense and offense, respectively. Wisconsin ranks second in the nation by scoring 5.83 goals per game and rank first by limiting its opponents to just 0.33 goals per game. The Badgers outscore their opponents by 5.5 goals per game, the second highest mark in the NCAA. Wisconsin also has one of the top special teams units in the nation by converting on five of 24 (.208) chances on the power play (9th) and stopping 21 of 22 (.955) chances on the penalty kill (2nd).
Wisconsin has two, high-level, scorers who rank in the top 10 in points per game. Sophomore Annie Pankowski leads the Badgers scoring by averaging 2.17 (6th) points per game followed by junior Sarah Nurse (7th) with 2.00 points per game. UW also has one of the top scorers from the blue-line in Jenny Ryan who stands in third at 1.33 points per game.
Ann-Renée Desbiens stands in front of the Badgers net and has been near perfect for Wisconsin. In five games, and 279:50 minutes, Desbiens has only allowed two goals and has made 64 saves. Those marks are good enough for the second best goals against average (0.43) and save percentage (.970) in the nation.
In a series dating back to 1999, Bemidji State and Wisconsin have met in 65 games. Wisconsin holds the all-time series lead with a record of 57-5-3, but four of the five Beavers wins in the series have been in Madison, Wis. The Beavers and Badgers last met on Mar. 8, 2015 in the WCHA Final Face-Off Championship where UW went on to defeat BSU 4-0.
BSU’s Whitney Wivoda has played the most games against UW amongst active players at 14 games, and Kristin Huber has tallied the most points with five (2g-3a). Kaitlyn Tougas and Hanna Moher follow Huber with the most points amongst active players with four points each.
Mowat Continues Hot Start
For the second-consecutive week, Bemidji State goaltender Brittni Mowat was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week. Mowat made 56 saves on 57 shots in two games against then ranked No. 6 North Dakota to guide the Beavers to a 1-0-1 series finish.
Mowat has had one of the best starts to a season in the nation with a record of 6-0-1 and ranks sixth in the NCAA with a .929 winning percentage. She also has the nation’s best save percentage at .978 and has only allowed four goals in seven games to stand in third with a 0.56 goals against average.
This is the second time this season, fifth of her career, that the Glenboro, Manitoba native has earned this award.
Leading at the Polls
The WCHA has an NCAA-best, four teams in both the USCHO.com (tied with the ECAC) and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. Minnesota remains the unanimous No. 1 in both rankings, followed by No. 3/2 Wisconsin, No. 6 Bemidji State and No. 7/8 North Dakota. Minnesota Duluth is receiving 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).