Bemidji State women's hockey team hosts defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth
The Bemidji State women's hockey team will host the defending national champion this weekend at the Bemidji Regional Event Center.
The Beavers will face current No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth Friday at 7:07 p.m. and Saturday at 6:07 p.m.
BSU is looking for its third straight victory and head coach Steve Sertich knows the Bulldogs present a tough challenge.
"It's always hard to match up with them, they have three Olympians on one line," Sertich said. "It's hard to match up with them player to player so we're going to need to have good goaltending and we're going to need to play well defensively. We can't get beat one-on-one and we can't allow back-door plays."
The Bulldogs (7-1-0 overall, 5-1-0 WCHA) enter the weekend on a six-game winning streak and have an even more impressive streak against the Beavers (4-4 overall, 2-2 WCHA). UMD is 47-0-2 all-time against BSU.
Despite that daunting record, there is hope BSU can break the streak in the 50th meeting between the two teams.
Last year Bemidji State took its first WCHA point from UMD last December with a tie and shootout victory in Duluth.
Another reason for hope is BSU's 5-3 victory over then No. 1 ranked Mercyhurst back on Oct. 16. That victory showed BSU can be competitive with the best in the country. BSU has outscored opponents 12-5 in its three-game winning streak.
"I think we're moving the puck very well and getting the puck up the ice," Sertich said. "We're working hard to get open, we're taking over the offensive zone and we're getting a lot of attempts on net."
Leading the way for the Beavers in the winning streak is Erin Cody, who has scored seven goals in that span.
Cody, a senior forward, was named the WCHA's offensive player of the week for scoring five goals in last weekend's sweep of St. Cloud State. She ranks sixth in WCHA scoring with 14 points.
Another area Sertich has been pleased with is the power play performance. BSU's power play is running at 13 percent for the season and scored three power play goals last weekend.
"We were effective last weekend," Sertich said. "That first group we have is really effective and reading the pressure. Even though we were not scoring early on in the season, I was not unhappy with that. Now we just have to get some traffic in front of the goaltenders."
If the Beavers are to break the long losing streak against the Bulldogs this weekend, scoring must come from beyond the top line where Cody, Sadie Lundquist and Emily Erickson have combined for 15 of the Beavers 18 goals this season.
Bemidji State's scoring offense ranks sixth out of eight teams in the WCHA with 18 total goals scored this season. Minnesota-Duluth's offense is second to Wisconsin with 36 goals scored.