Beavers and Bulldogs clash in first round of WCHA Playoffs

Beavers and Bulldogs clash in first round of WCHA Playoffs
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Beavers and Bulldogs clash in first round of WCHA Playoffs

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Western Collegiate Hockey Association Playoffs get underway this weekend and the fifth-seeded Bemidji State University women’s hockey team travels to fourth-seed University of Minnesota Duluth, Feb. 23-25. The Beavers (14-17-3, 9-12-2-1 WCHA) and Bulldogs (14-14-4, 10-11-3-2- WCHA) meet for a best-of-three series to determine a spot in the WCHA Final Faceoff, March 3-4. All games in the series are slated for a 2:07 p.m. start time with game one Friday, Feb. 23.

The Series
The Beavers and Bulldogs have met in 87 meetings during the two program’s histories with Minnesota Duluth dominating the all-time series record at 68-15-4. However, Bemidji State has gotten the best of the Bulldogs this season going 3-2 during regular season play. BSU and UMD split its last regular season series at Duluth, Minn., with the Beavers taking game one, 5-3, but fell in game two, 3-2. The Beavers and Bulldogs have met four times in the WCHA playoffs with UMD boasting a 7-2 record against BSU in postseason play. This weekend’s meeting will be the third postseason meeting between the two teams in four years.

A Look At The Bulldogs
After earning the fourth-seed in the WCHA Playoffs after garnering 35 points in WCHA play, the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs hosts its second consecutive WCHA playoff series. The Bulldogs are receiving votes in both the USCHO.com and USAToday/USA Hockey Magazine national polls after sweeping Minnesota State University, Mankato last weekend to end the regular season. UMD was led by senior forward Katerina Mrazova in the series who posted two goals and one assist.

The Bulldogs sport the fifth-ranked scoring offense (2.06 g/gm) and scoring defense (2.38 g/gm) in the league and are the least penalized team in the WCHA (5.2 PIM/gm). Minnesota Duluth boasts the best power-play percentage in the league converting on 21-of-88 chances (.239). That percentage is good for fifth in all of Division I. UMD is fifth in the WCHA in penalty kill stopping 63-of-74 chances (.851).

The Bulldogs have one of the best scoring freshman in the league in Naomi Rogge who is third in the WCHA with 15 goals and has compiled 23 points to lead the team. Fellow freshman Ashton Bell follows with 22 points and has scored 11 goals this season while sophomore defenseman Jalyn Elmes has tallied 21 points (6g-15a) to lead UMD blueliners. Senior goaltender Jessica Convery has started 29 of the teams 32 games this season and is 14-12-3. She sports the league’s fifth-best goals against average (2.29) and save percentage (.918) and has three shutouts.

Bemidji State Notes

  • The Beavers are 15-4-68 all-time against the Bulldogs but are 3-2-0 this season in five meetings.
  • Alexis Joyce leads the team with 14 career points (2g-12) in 22 career games against the Bulldogs. Emma Terres follows with eight points (3g-5a) in 22 games while Emily Bergland has six points (3g-3a) in 15 games. 
  • BSU and UMD split its last regular season series at Duluth, Minn., with the Beavers taking game one, 5-3, but fell in game two, 3-2.
  • Sophomore Haley Mack led the Beavers with three points (1g-2a) in the series while sophomore Abby Halluska posted two goals (2g-0a).
  • Redshirt freshman Lauren Bench started both games in net for BSU and made 65 saves posting a 3.02 goals against average and .915 save percentage.
  • Bemidji State and Minnesota Duluth last met in the playoffs in 2015-16 where the Bulldogs swept the Beavers in two games at Sanford Center in Bemidji.
  • Bemidji State’s only playoff series win against UMD came during the 2014-15 season where the Beavers upset the ninth-ranked Bulldogs in overtime of the third game to punch a ticket to the program’s second WCHA Final Face Off appearance.
  • The Beavers look to carry momentum from a series split with No. 6 Ohio State University in the regular season finale into postseason play.
  • BSU fell in game one of the series, 4-0, but responded in game two with a 2-1 victory to earn the split.
  • Freshman Kerigan Dowhy stopped 28-of-29 shots by the Buckeyes in game two to earn her third victory of the season (3-0-1) and was named WCHA Freshman of the Week for her efforts.
  • Haley Mack and Clair DeGeorge wrap up the regular season among the top 20 scorers in the WCHA. Both Mack and DeGeorge tied for 18th in the league with 22 points.
  • DeGeorge is tied for sixth in scoring among freshman in the WCHA.
  • Senior defenseman Alexis Joyce is tied for third in scoring among defenseman and has tallied a career-high 21 points (6g-15a).
  • Joyce is two games shy of tying a program record for consecutive games played. She has played in all 144 games of her career and two back from Marlee Wheelhouse (‘08-‘12).
  • Jim Scanlan is 4-7 in WCHA postseason play in his four-year career and 69-65-10 all-time.

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).

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