Beavers clash with new WCHA member St. Thomas in season-opening series

Beavers clash with new WCHA member St. Thomas in season-opening series
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Beavers clash with new WCHA member St. Thomas in season-opening series

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University women’s hockey team officially drops the puck on the 2021-22 season this weekend and will travel to new Western Collegiate Hockey Association league member University of St. Thomas for pair of league games. The Beavers (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) and Tommies (0-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) begin their series Friday, Oct. 1, followed by game two Saturday. Both games will be held at St. Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota Heights, Minn., with puck drop for game one scheduled for 6:01 p.m., followed by game two at 3:01 p.m. The weekend’s series will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

Bemidji State Notes

  • Bemidji State looks to improve from last season where they went 2-16-2 in a shortened 2020-21 season and finished seventh in WCHA standings with 12.5 points.
  • The Beavers return 19 letter-winners from last season including two of its top-three scorers in junior Reece Hunt (0g-8a) and fifth-year senior Paige Beebe (3g-3a).
  • Nine freshmen begin their collegiate careers with Bemidji State which brings the Beavers’ roster total to 28 with 16 forwards, eight defensemen and four goaltenders. Bemidji State will have a total of 12 upperclassmen and 16 underclassmen on its roster.
  • BSU also retains four fifth-year seniors in Beebe, Lydia Passolt, Lindsey Featherstone and Kerigan Dowhy who earned another year of eligibility due to last year’s shortened season.
  • Beebe leads all returners with 50 career points (27g-23a) in 129 career games while Passolt follows with 34 points (20g-14a) in 98 games.
  • Dowhy is the Beavers’ top returning goaltender and has appeared in 48 career games in net and has posted a 13-27-3 record with a 2.66 goals against average and .909 save percentage.
  • The Beavers also return three fourth-year seniors in Claudia Verkerke, Graysen Myers and Lexi Baker. Verkerke will captain the 2021-22 Beavers and will be assisted by Dowhy and junior Kate Boland.
  • Bemidji State will have to replace its leading scorer from a year ago after Clair DeGeorge elected to transfer to Ohio State University for her fifth year of eligibility.
  • However, BSU’s biggest loss came on the blueline and graduated four of the Beavers’ top six defenders from last season.
  • The Beavers lost a total of seven letter-winners from last season but freshmen Makenna Deering, Taylor Larson, Shelby Breiland, Claire Vekich, Alyssa Watkins, Adriana Van De Leest, Kendra Fortin, Ella Anick and Abbie Thompson hope to make a positive impression.
  • The Beavers return all netminders from last season while also adding one freshman in Abbie Thompson. Dowhy returns as last year’s leading goaltender while senior Lexi Baker and sophomore Hannah Hogenson will battle for playing time.
  • Head coach Jim Scanlan returns for his eighth season behind the bench and sports a 102-122-17 career record. He will be assisted by Shane Veenker who returns for his 16th season and Emma Terres who returns for her second season.
  • Bemidji State was voted to finish sixth in the WCHA in the preseason coaches’ poll earlier this preseason.
  • Bemidji State will play a total of 32 games including 28 conference games during the 2021-22 regular season.

St. Thomas Notes

  • Thomas began its inaugural Division I season last weekend with a road series at Ohio State University.
  • The Tommies fell in both games of its series at Ohio State last weekend and were outscored 10-1 in the series. The Buckeyes opened the series with a 6-0 victory in game one followed by a 4-1 victory in game two.
  • Freshman Abby Promersberger scored the lone goal in the series for the Tommies and the first goal of the Division I era.
  • Bemidji State will play a total of 32 games including 28 conference games during the 2021-22 regular season.
  • Thomas spent the last 23 seasons as members of Division III and boasted a 363-174-52 all-time record during that span.
  • The Tommies were a charter member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics Conference since 1920 before being removed for the conference and joining the WCHA in women’s hockey.
  • During its D-III era on the ice St. Thomas made two Final Four appearances, including during the 2019 season, had 15 All-America honors, no losing seasons in the last 20 years and won nine conference championships.
  • Thomas returns 11 letterwinners from a 2020-21 team that went 6-2-0 last season in shortened play and has added 12 newcomers to the squad.
  • The Tommies’ top returner is senior forward Anna Solheim who has totaled 18 goals and 17 assists for 35 points in 64 career games. They also return senior forward Anna Erickson who has posted 18 points (6g-12a) in 55 career games as well as junior forward Allie Monrean who has posted 16 points (8g-8a) in 34 career games.
  • The Tommies return senior goaltender Eryn Cooley who has posted a career record of 14-13-4 with a 1.77 goals against average and .927 save percentage.
  • Nine freshman will join the Tommies’ squad as well as three graduate transfers in Megan Cornell (Dartmouth), Alexa Dobchuk (Colgate) and Megan Korzack (Mercyhurst).
  • Thomas will be led by first-year head coach Joel Johnson who spent the last 11 season as Associate Head Coach at University of Minnesota. Johnson will be assisted by Bethany Brausen and Marty Sertich who are also in their first years.

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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