BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University women’s hockey team will see a familiar foe in the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Playoffs this weekend. For the fourth time in five years, the Beavers (13-19-2, 10-12-2 WCHA) face University of Minnesota Duluth for a best-of-three series at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn. The fifth-seed Beavers travel to face the fourth-seed Bulldogs (13-15-4, 9-11-4 WCHA) March 1-3 to determine a trip to the WCHA Final Faceoff, March 8-9. Each game of the series is scheduled to begin at 2:07 p.m. beginning with game one Friday, March 1 and followed by game two Saturday, March 2. If the series is tied 1-1 after the first two games, a decisive game three will be played Sunday, March 3, also at 2:07 p.m.
Bemidji State and Minnesota Duluth meet for the second consecutive playoff series in Duluth and the fourth time in five years. The Beavers upset the Bulldogs on the road in last season’s first round matchup, 2-1, and earned a trip to the program’s third WCHA Final Faceoff. BSU began the series with a 2-1 victory in game one while UMD evened the series in game two after a 4-1 victory. Sophomore Kerigan Dowhy held the Bulldogs off the scoreboard in game three as the Beavers won game three, 3-0. Senior Emily Bergland (1g-2a) and junior Haley Mack (2g-1a) each posted three points in the series to lead the team while Bergland scored the game-winning goal in Sunday’s victory. In the all-time series record, the Bulldogs have dominated the series and boast a 72-18-4 record against Bemidji State and are 9-4-0 against BSU in the playoffs.
This season Minnesota Duluth went 3-1-0 against Bemidji State including a series sweep in AMSOIL Arena, Oct. 19-20. In their most recent meeting, the Beavers and Bulldogs split their series in Bemidji, Jan. 11-12. Sophomore Clair DeGeorge led the Beavers with four points (1g-3a) against the Bulldogs this season while sophomore Lydia Passolt follows with two goals and an assist. Redshirt sophomore Lauren Bench started three games in net against UMD this season and is 1-2-0 with a 2.68 goals against average and .909 save percentage.
Emily Bergland (4g-5a) and Clair DeGeorge (4g-5a) lead all active skaters with nine points against the Bulldogs while Bergland has played in 22 career games to lead the team compared to just 12 for DeGeorge. Haley Mack follows closely with eight points (4g-4a) in 13 games while sophomore Paige Beebe follows with five points (2g-3a) in 12 games. Kerigan Dowhy leads the team with a 3-2-0 record against UMD while Lauren Bench follows at 2-3-0. Dowhy boasts a 2.51 goals against average and .900 save percentage while Bench has a 3.02 goals against average and .904 save percentage.
A Look At The Bulldogs
Minnesota Duluth begins the WCHA Playoffs after earning the fourth seed with 35 points in league play (9-11-4-4) and sport a 13-15-4 record overall. Last weekend, the Bulldogs traveled to Minnesota State University, Mankato and earned four points against the Mavericks with two shootout wins. Freshman Maggie Flaherty led the Bulldogs in the series by totaling four points on three goals and an assist. Flaherty led all WCHA defensemen in points during the week and was named the WCHA Defenseman of the Week for her efforts. Minnesota Duluth ranks fourth and fifth in the league in scoring offense and defense, respectively, and average 2.62 goals per game while allowing 2.81 goals per game. On special teams, UMD is third in the conference at .193 percent (16-of-83) but its penalty kill is sixth at .785 percent (62-of-79).
On offense the Bulldogs are led by one of the highest scoring freshmen in the league in Gabbie Hughes. Hughes paces the team with 33 points off of 16 goals and 17 assists, is the league’s third highest scoring freshman and is eighth overall. Her 16 goals this season is tied for fourth among all skaters in the league. Sophomore Naomi Rogge (11g-11a) and Anneke Linser (8g-14a) each follow Hughes with 22 points in 32 games while sophomore Anna Klein has added 21 points (11g-10a). Bemidji State will see Olympic gold medalist Maddie Rooney in net this weekend. Rooney has appeared in 28 games this season and is 10-14-4 with a 2.83 goals against average and .918 save percentage.
A Look at the Beavers
The Beavers begin the WCHA Playoffs this weekend after earning the fifth seed with 32 points in league play (10-12-2-0) and are 13-19-2 overall. Bemidji State hosted No. 2 University of Minnesota for the regular season finale last weekend and were swept by the second-ranked Gophers by scores of 6-3 and 4-3. Junior Abby Halluska led the Beavers with three goals in the series including two goals in Saturday’s 4-3 loss. Bemidji State ranks fifth and sixth, respectively, in scoring offense and defense in the WCHA. The Beavers average 2.06 goals per game to rank fifth but allow 2.82 goals per game for sixth. Bemidji State’s power play is last in the league at .098 percent (8-of-82) and hasn’t scored a power-play goal since Feb. 1 against University of Wisconsin. However, its penalty kill is one of the best in the country and leads the conference with a .882 percent (75-of-85) and is fifth in the nation.
On offense the Beavers are led by sophomore Clair DeGeorge who has totaled 22 points off of nine goals and 13 assists in 34 games and is tied for 19th in scoring in the league. Senior Emily Bergland follows with 18 points off of six goals and 12 assists while junior Jacqueline Kaasa has added 17 points and is tied for the team lead in goals (9) with DeGeorge and Halluska. The Beavers’ blueline is led by sophomore Mak Langei who has posted 10 points off of two goals and eight assists and has also blocked 70 shots to tie for fourth in the WCHA. Sophomore Tina Kampa leads the team with 79 blocked shots and is third in the league. Lauren Bench leads BSU’s netminders with a 9-9-2 record this season while Kerigan Dowhy is 4-9-0 in 14 games played. Bench leads the team with a 2.41 goals against average and .910 save percentage while Dowhy has a 3.00 goals against average and .898 save percentage.
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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).