BEMIDJI, Minn. – One of the best rivalries in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association gets renewed this weekend and an important six conference points are on the line as the Bemidji State University women’s hockey team travels to face No. 10 University of Minnesota Duluth. The Beavers (13-10-1, 7-7-0-0 WCHA) hold a six-point lead over the Bulldogs (9-8-3, 4-6-2-0 WCHA) in the league standings and can significantly increase their lead for fourth place and home playoff positioning. BSU and UMD faceoff for a two-game, league series at AMSOIL Arena beginning Friday, at 7:07 p.m., followed by game two Saturday at 4:07 p.m.
Friday’s meeting between the Beavers and Bulldogs will be the 100th meeting between the two programs in a series that began on Oct. 22, 1999. Minnesota Duluth dominates the all-time series by holding a 75-20-4 lead. However, the Beavers are 16-16-2 against the Bulldogs under the leadership of sixth-year head coach Jim Scanlan. UMD won the last meeting between the teams when it defeated BSU 2-0 in the championship game of the Minnesota Cup, Jan. 5 but in league play, Bemidji State earned a series sweep over the then eighth-ranked Bulldogs back on Oct. 18-19.
Senior Haley Mack leads the Beavers with four goals against the Bulldogs this season while juniors Paige Beebe (1g-2a) and Tina Kampa (0g-3a) each have three points. Mack also paces the team with 13 points (9g-4a) in 17 career games versus UMD while junior Clair DeGeorge follows with 11 points (3g-8a) in 17 games. Redshirt junior Lauren Bench leads BSU’s netminders with 11 career games against the Bulldogs and has posted a 4-6-0 record to go along with a 2.74 goals against average and .910 save percentage.
A Look At The Bulldogs
Minnesota Duluth prepares to host its first league series of 2020 after going 9-8-3 through the team’s first 20 games. The Bulldogs host the Beavers as the 10th ranked team in the USCHO.com and USAToday/USA Hockey Magazine national polls and are fifth in the WCHA standings with 15 points (4-6-2-0). Minnesota Duluth last played Jan. 5 when they defeated the Beavers 2-0 in the Minnesota Cup championship game.
The Bulldogs own the fourth-best scoring average in the WCHA (2.65 goals per game), while also being stingy on defense to rank third by limiting opponents to 2.15 goals per game. UMD has struggled on the power play and is sixth in the league at .121 percent (7-of-58) but its penalty kill has excelled and is third in the league at .863 percent (44-of-51).
Minnesota Duluth is led on offense by sophomore Gabbie Hughes who is 10th in the league with 27 points off of 11 goals and 16 assists this season. She is followed by senior Sydney Brodt who has posted 20 points off of nine goals and 11 assists while junior Ashton Bell paces the Bulldogs’ blueline with 18 points off of seven goals and 11 assists. Bells 18 points as a defenseman is the second most in the WCHA. In net, UMD bases play off of Olympic gold medalist and senior Maddie Rooney. Rooney has posted an 8-8-3 record and boasts some of the best goaltending numbers in the WCHA. She ranks third with a 2.04 goals against average and is second with a .927 save percentage which also ranks 14th in the NCAA.
A Look at the Beavers
Bemidji State travels for its first league road series of 2020 with a 13-10-1 record and are receiving votes in both the USCHO.com and USAToday/USA Hockey Magazine national polls. The Beavers are coming off an upset and series split with No. 1 University of Wisconsin this past weekend. Bemidji State enters the weekend fourth in the WCHA standings with 21 points and a 7-7-0-0 league record.
The Beavers are fifth in the WCHA in scoring by averaging 2.08 goals per game and are fourth on defense by holding opponents to 2.25 goals per game. Bemidji State’s power play has also struggled and is last in the league by converting at .117 percent (7-of-60), while its penalty kill is sixth at .80.6 percent (54-of-67). Bemidji State is 0-for-16 on the power play since Nov. 29.
Bemidji State is paced on offense by seniors Haley Mack and Kiki Radke. Mack leads the team with 19 points off of 13 goals and six assists while her 13 goals this season is tied for eighth in the WCHA. Mack is tied for sixth on the Beavers’ career goal scoring list with 36 career goals. She is followed by Radke who has posted a career-high 15 points off of five goals and 10 assists. Junior Clair DeGeorge follows with 14 points off of four goals and 10 assists after posting a four-point weekend (2g-2a) against No. 1 Wisconsin. Senior Abby Halluska follows with 13 points off of six goals and seven assists and has eight points in the last nine games (4g-4a). BSU’s blueline is led by juniors Mak Langei and Tina Kampa. Langei has posted 11 points off of two goals and nine assists while Kampa follows with 10 points off of 10 assists. Redshirt junior Lauren Bench paces the Beavers’ netminders and has posted a 10-8-0 record with a 2.16 goals against average and .918 save percentage. Bench ranks fourth in the league in goals against average and is third in save percentage. Bench has earned a career-high 10 wins this season.
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).