BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University women’s hockey team begins its first road Western Collegiate Hockey Association series of the season this weekend by traveling to face No. 4 University of Minnesota Duluth. The Beavers (4-2-0, 2-2-0 WCHA) will see the Bulldogs (3-2-1, 2-2-0 WCHA) for the first time since being eliminated from the first round of the WCHA Playoffs last season.
The Beavers face the No. 4 Bulldogs for the first time since being eliminated from the first round of the WCHA Playoffs a season ago. UMD swept BSU in two games during the series but Bemidji State had the upper hand during the regular season, sweeping Minnesota Duluth in all four games for the first time in school history. Minnesota Duluth holds the all-time series record at 64-12-2 in a series that dates back to 1999 but the Beavers are 6-4-0 in the last 10 meetings. In Duluth, Minn., UMD is 31-7-2.
A look at the Bulldogs
Minnesota Duluth returns home to Duluth, Minn., after its first road trip of the season at No. 2 University of Minnesota last weekend. The Bulldogs fell to the Gophers in two one-goal games including a 3-2 overtime loss in the series’ final game, Oct. 8. Senior Lara Stalder led the Bulldogs with two goals in the series and totaled three points while sophomore Maddie Rooney spent 123 minutes in net and went 0-2-0.
This weekend’s match up will feature two of the top teams in the WCHA and pit the league’s top scoring offense in UMD against the league’s second-best scoring defense in BSU. The Bulldogs average 3.67 goals while the Beavers hold opponents to just 1.33 goals. The weekend will also feature two of the top special-teams units in the NCAA. The Bulldogs have the fourth-ranked power-play unit in Division I and convert on .233 (7-30) percent of their chances. They will go up against the top penalty killing unit with the Beavers stopping .950 (19-20) percent of their opponents chances. Bemidji State’s power play jumped up to .143 (4-28) after last weekend’s three power-play goals and now is tied for fourth in the WCHA. The Bulldogs are last in the conference in penalty kill and have just a .650 (17-25) percentage.
The Bulldogs have arguably two of the best forwards in the WCHA in Stalder and senior Ashleigh Brykaliuk. Stalder leads the league in scoring with 12 points (6g-6a) and Brykaliuk follows her in second with eight points (5g-3a). Fellow senior Katherine McGovern is also tied for second with eight points (3g-5a) while junior Katerina Mrazova and freshman Sydney Brodt follow with five points each.
Rooney has been the only goaltender to see time in net this season and has compiled a 3-2-1 record. She ranks seventh in the WCHA with a 2.12 goals against average and sixth in save percentage (.932).
Bergland’s career weekend helps beavers salvage split with OSU
Bemidji State women’s hockey sophomore Emily Bergland had a career weekend last weekend. The Thief River Falls, Minn., native recorded a career-best five points (2g-3a) over the weekend to lead the WCHA. Bergland began the weekend by tallying an assist on BSU’s lone goal Friday but then finished with a career-high four points (2g-2a) the following night. Bergland managed to register a point on every Bemidji State goal in the series and is now tied for second in the league with eight (4g-4a) points on the season.
Beavers remain in national polls following weekend split
The Bemidji State women’s hockey team remained ranked in the USCHO.com and USAToday/USAHockeyMagazine national polls this week despite a series split with Ohio State University. The Beavers are ranked 10th in the USCHO.com poll but are slotted at ninth in the USAToday/USAHockeyMagazine poll. The rankings mark the second-straight week the Beavers earn a ranking in either poll. Minnesota Duluth will enter the weekend at No. 4 after earning the ranking in both polls.
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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).