BEMIDJI, Minn. – The No. 5/6 Bemidji State women’s hockey team returns to action this weekend after having last weekend off. The Beavers (12-4-2, 9-4-1 WCHA) will face the No. 9 University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (9-5-2, 6-4-2 WCHA) for a home-and-home series, Dec. 4 and 6.
Bemidji State opens the series by hosting the Fighting Hawks at 7:07 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 at Sanford Center and then travel to Grand Forks, N.D. Sunday, Dec. 6 to take on the Fighting Hawks at 2:07 p.m. from Ralph Engelstad Arena. The Beavers and Fighting Hawks met earlier this season in a home-and-home series Oct. 16 and 17. Bemidji State earned five-of-six points in the series by going 1-0-1.
Beavers in Mid-Season Form
Bemidji State will look to continue its first half success. The Beavers have come together as a team and have won six of their last eight games. After being swept by then No. 2/3 University of Wisconsin, the Beavers responded by tying their season-high, four-game win streak. BSU would have its win streak broken by No. 3 University of Minnesota and bounced back by sweeping Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Seniors Kaitlyn Tougas, Ivana Bilic, and Kristen Huber have been key parts to BSU earning 18 of a possible 24 points in the last four weekends. Tougas leads the Beavers with 13 points (3g-10a) this season and has scored eight points (3g-5a) in the last eight games. Huber and Bilic have also seen scoring success recently and each lead the Beavers with three-game point scoring streaks. Huber has scored four points (1g-3a) in her last three games while Bilic has nine points (2g-7a) in the last eight games.
Mowat looks to become BSU’s Most Successful Goaltender
Junior Brittni Mowat has steadily made a name for herself as one of Bemidji State’s top goaltenders of all-time. After earning a 3-1 victory against Minnesota State Nov. 21, Mowat tied BSU great Zuzana Tomcikova for most career wins at BSU. The Glenboro, Manitoba native has 41 wins in a BSU sweater including setting a school record with 19 wins last season.
Earlier This Season
Bemidji State and North Dakota wrap-up their regular season series this weekend after the Beavers and Fighting Hawks met on Oct. 16 and 17 earlier this season. BSU started the series by playing to a scoreless tie at the end of regulation and extra-time on Oct. 16, but fell in the shootout 1-0. The Beavers earned two points on the night however, and BSU goaltender Mowat stopped all 32 shots for the shutout.
Bemidji State then followed that performance with a 2-1, overtime win against UND the following night at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The Beavers used late goals to upset the Fighting Hawks after being down 1-0 late in the third-period. The Beavers staged a late comeback when Lauren Miller scored the game-tying goal with just 1:56 remaining. Sophomore Alexis Joyce ended the game with just seven seconds left in overtime to complete the comeback win for BSU.
A Look At The Fighting Hawks
North Dakota returns to Western Collegiate Hockey Association action after facing Syracuse University in non-conference play last weekend. The Fighting Hawks split their series with the Orange when UND defeated SU 3-0, Nov. 27, but fell 5-2, Nov. 28.
UND held the ninth ranking in both the USCHO.com and USAToday/USA Hockey Magazine national polls. North Dakota comes into the weekend with the third-ranked scoring offense in the conference and average 2.62 goals per game. The Fighting Hawks also have the fourth-ranked defense in the league and only allow their opponents 2.12 goals per game.
Leading UND in points is Amy Menke who is 15th in the nation in scoring with 23 points (12g-11a). She is followed by Meghan Dufault with 17 points (6g-11a) and Becca Kohler with 15 points (7g-8a). Leading the Fighting Hawks in net is Shelby Amsley-Benzie with a 7-4-1 record. Amsley-Benzie has posted a 2.00 goals against average and .903 save percentage so far this season.
Bemidji State and North Dakota have met a total of 61 times in a series that dates back to 2002. UND leads the series with a record of 36-21-4 for a winning percentage of .593. Senior Kaitlyn Tougas leads all current Beavers with 10 (2g-8a) points against North Dakota in 16 games. She is followed by Whitney Wivoda, who is the current leading goal scorer against UND with four goals. Brittni Mowat is the only active goaltender to face UND and is 3-6-2 in her career with a goals against average of 2.44 and .901 save percentage.
WCHA Leading at the Polls
The WCHA continues to have an NCAA-best presence in the national polls, with five of the league’s eight teams ranked in the top ten. Wisconsin, which is off to the best start in program history, remains the nation’s No. 1 for the fifth-straight week in both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine polls. The Badgers are followed by No. 3 Minnesota, No. 6/5 Bemidji State, No. 9 North Dakota and No. 10 Minnesota Duluth.
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).