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WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Beavers enter home stretch

BSU freshman Clair DeGeorge (26) races down the ice with the puck in a Dec. 15 game against Minnesota State at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State women’s hockey team became the first Western Collegiate Hockey Association team to earn a point against top-ranked Wisconsin in its most recent outing.

The Beavers have had to wait almost two weeks since that Jan. 20 tie against the league-leading Badgers to get back on the ice.

One could see why BSU coach Jim Scanlan almost wishes his team had not had a bye week last weekend. But not quite.

“It definitely would have been nice because we had been playing well,” Scanlan said. “But at the same time, if you can get a break this late (in the season) just to rest up the bumps and bruises and just give them a weekend off like we did, that certainly could really help us down the stretch here.”

Only three weeks remain in the regular season as BSU goes after home ice in the league playoffs. The idle Beavers (12-13-3, 7-9-2-1 WCHA) fell four points behind Minnesota Duluth after the Bulldogs swept third-place Ohio State last weekend and bested St. Cloud State in a shootout Wednesday night for another two points in the standings.

Bemidji State has two games in hand on UMD as the teams battle for the fourth seed in the WCHA playoffs and home ice in the first round, meaning the team still controls its own fate.

“The message is we still control our own destiny,” Scanlan said. “We (have to) take care of business. It’s a really exciting time. I talked to the team about this yesterday. With six games left, it’s just a really exciting time to be playing in this league and the opportunities that are out there for us.”

The Beavers scored six goals on the Badgers and are averaging 2.64 goals per game, the fourth-best mark in the WCHA. Nine BSU players have already set career highs in points this season, including senior forward Emma Terres who is fourth on the team with 17 points (8g-9a).

“I’m very confident in our play right now,” Terres said. “I think we’re playing awesome. Whatever happens the next few series, I think we’ll be just set and ready to go for the playoffs.”

BSU will have a good opportunity to pick up points in the league standings this weekend at Minnesota State. Both games of the series are scheduled to start at 2:07 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, and Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Verizon Center in Mankato.

The Beavers swept the Mavericks (3-22-1, 1-17-0-0 WCHA) in their most recent series Dec. 15-16 in Bemidji, winning 4-2 and 5-0. MSU suffered a pair of two-goal losses to Minnesota last weekend, falling 4-2 and 2-0 to the second-place Gophers in Minneapolis.

“I thought Mankato had a good weekend in terms of their play,” Scanlan said. “They battled and they competed. Two really close games (and) Minnesota came out on top. We’re going against a team that’s obviously hungry.”

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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