BEMIDJI, Minn. – Fresh off its third series sweep of the season, the Bemidji State University women’s hockey team resumes Western Collegiate Hockey Association action by hosting University of Minnesota Duluth for a two-game, league series at Sanford Center this weekend. The Beavers (7-13-1, 4-7-1-0 WCHA) look to carry momentum from their non-conference series sweep of Union College last weekend and continue their program record six-game home winning streak.
The Bulldogs (7-9-2, 4-6-2-2 WCHA) also resume league play for the second half of the season after participating in the Minnesota Cup last weekend. After falling to University of Minnesota in game one of the tournament 4-3, the Bulldogs responded with a 5-3 victory over Minnesota State University, Mankato in game two.
The Beavers and Bulldogs clash for the second and last series of the regular season this weekend and for the 93rd and 94th meetings of the all-time series. The Beavers have battled with the Bulldogs the most of any team in the NCAA throughout the years and in 92 meetings, Bemidji State is 17-71-4 all-time against Minnesota Duluth. When hosting UMD, the Beavers are 6-33-1 and last faced the Bulldogs on home ice Oct. 27-28, 2017 where they split the two-game series. Bemidji State traveled to Duluth, Minn., Oct. 19-20 and were swept by the then fifth-ranked Bulldogs by scores of 6-1 and 2-0. Sophomore Paige Beebe was the lone Beaver skater to score in the series.
Senior Emily Bergland has played the most games against the Bulldogs among active skaters. In 20 games, she has totaled nine points on four goals and five assists. Junior Haley Mack follows with eight points (4g-4a) in 12 games while sophomore Clair DeGeorge trails with five points (2g-3a) in 10 games. Kerigan Dowhy leads BSU’s goaltenders with a 3-2-0 record in five games against UMD while Lauren Bench is 1-2-0 in four games.
A Look At The Bulldogs
Minnesota Duluth enters the weekend’s action after receiving one vote in the latest USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls and sports a 7-9-2 overall record. The Bulldogs stand one spot in front of the Beavers in the WCHA Standings and are fourth with 16 league points, three more than BSU. Jan. 11-12 will also be the first league series for the Bulldogs of 2019 after beginning the second half of the season last weekend at the Minnesota Cup at Ridder Arena. Minnesota Duluth was led by freshman Gabbie Hughes in the tournament who tied for a league-high with five points (3g-2a) over the weekend while sophomore Anna Klein added four points (2g-2a).
The Bulldogs bring in the WCHA’s fourth-ranked scoring offense to town and have scored 42 goals in 18 games for an average of 2.33 goals per game. Their defense is fifth in the league by holding opponents to 2.61 goals per game. UMD averages the third-most penalty minutes in the league at 6.7 minutes per game and its penalty kill has struggled in the first half of the season and are sixth in the WCHA with a penalty kill percentage of .800 (40-of-50). The Bulldogs’ power play has fared better this season and is third in the league at .189 percent (10-of-53).
UMD is led on offense by its underclassmen. Freshman Gabbie Hughes paces the team with 18 points (10g-8a) in 18 games, is third in scoring among league freshmen and tied for ninth overall. Her 10 goals on the season tie her for seventh most in the WCHA and second among newcomers to the league. Hughes is followed by sophomore Anna Klein and freshman Anneke Linser who each have posted 13 points in 18 games. Junior Ryleigh Houston joins the trio as the only other Bulldog to post double-digit points (5g-5a). In the crease, the Bulldogs are led by Olympic gold medalist and redshirt junior, Maddie Rooney. In 16 games, she has posted a 5-9-2 record with a 2.73 goals against average and .918 save percentage.
A Look at the Beavers
The Beavers look to continue their program-record, six-game home winning streak after breaking last season’s mark of five games. Bemidji State is 6-3-1 at the Sanford Center this season and are unbeaten in their last seven (6-0-1) dating back to Oct. 27. Overall, the Beavers have won three in-a-row and are 7-13-1 on the season. BSU stands fifth in the WCHA standings, one spot out of a home playoff series contention and trail fourth place, Minnesota Duluth, by three points.
The Beavers have one of the best penalty killing units in the nation and are fourth in Division I with a .909 percentage (50-of-55) and have successfully killed off 26 consecutive power plays dating back to Nov. 9. Bemidji State’s power play is on the opposite end of the spectrum and is last in the WCHA with a .085 percentage and hasn’t scored a power-play goal since Nov. 30 (0-for-15).
Individually, the Beavers are led by senior Emily Bergland and sophomore Clair DeGeorge who each have totaled 11 points in 21 games. DeGeorge leads the team in scoring with six goals while Bergland paces the Beavers in assists with seven. Junior Jacqueline Kaasa follows with nine points in 21 games (4g-5a) and has four points in the past three games (2g-2a).
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).