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WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Beavers ride momentum into RIT series

BEMIDJI -- A difference of 26 seconds and the Bemidji State women’s hockey team potentially could have left Minneapolis with a sweep of No. 6 Minnesota last weekend.

The Beavers came that close to extending Friday’s game to 3-on-3 overtime, only for the Gophers to score the winning goal with 26 seconds left in overtime in a 3-2 loss.

“To get to within 26 seconds of getting (3-on-3) overtime where you’re at least guaranteed one point, that was a frustrating thing,” BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said.

The circumstances did not phase Bemidji State. A 4-2 win Saturday clinched a much-needed three points in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings for the fifth-place Beavers (6-10-2, 4-7-1-1 WCHA).

“To be able to come back Saturday and play with the same kind of effort and passion that we did, and our compete level, I was really proud of that,” Scanlan said. “Overall, from the start Friday to the end Saturday, it was probably our most complete weekend.”

Jacqueline Kaasa played a major role in the team’s win, putting on the best performance of her career with a four-point game. The sophomore forward had a hand in all four goals, scoring two goals -- including the game-winner -- and assisting on the other two.

“Friday was kind of a letdown, losing with 26 seconds left in overtime,” Kaasa said. “But we talked about having to be able to bounce back on Saturday and that’s exactly what we did.”

For her efforts, Kaasa was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week.

“She’s played with a lot of confidence,” Scanlan said. “And (Kaasa) is someone that we know has the ability to put the puck in the net. She’s shown that throughout her career and she’s got a nose for it. I just thought that line -- Bergie, Jac and Bailey had a tremendous weekend.”

Kaasa has been playing on the same line as Bailey Wright and Emily Bergland, the line that generated all of BSU’s offense Saturday.

“We’re all starting to get things going,” Wright said. “These past couple weekends we’ve been really putting a lot more things together.”

This weekend, the Beavers will dip back into non-conference play with a home series against Rochester Institute of Technology. BSU played the Tigers (4-12-2, 1-7-0 College Hockey America) for the first time in program history last December and earned the road sweep, winning by scores of 3-1 and 5-1 in Rochester, N.Y.

RIT enters the weekend last in the CHA and winless in its last eight games (0-7-1), though the Tigers did beat Boston University 2-1 in overtime in their most recent victory.

“They’re a hardworking team,” Scanlan said. “They’re well-coached. We went out there last year and they’re going to compete hard. I see where they beat Boston University in overtime here not too long ago, and certainly Boston University’s always got a really, really solid team.”

The opening faceoff for both games Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9, is set for 3:07 p.m. at the Sanford Center.

“For us we just want to continue to play how we play,” Scanlan said. “It’s not who we play, it’s how we play.”

Austin Monteith

Austin Monteith is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He is an Illinois native and a Butler University graduate. Follow him on Twitter @amonteith92.

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