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Kick and flick: Inside one of the wildest game-winners in Bemidji State women's hockey history

It took a no-look kick save and a quick-look shot to create a play worthy of the top spot on SportsCenter's Top 10.

021622.S.BP.BSUWHKY Kerigan Dowhy post game celebration.jpg
The Beavers celebrate with senior goalie Kerigan Dowhy (33) after she made 51 saves in Bemidji State’s win over Ohio State on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
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Kerigan Dowhy couldn’t see the puck.

As No. 2 Ohio State, with an extra attacker, scrambled to crash the net and push a game-winner past the goal line in the final seconds on Friday, the Bemidji State women’s hockey goaltender splayed herself out on the ground. But while the puck got past her – and her field of vision – and scooted along the goal line, lack of sight was no hindrance for what she did next.

“As soon as I felt it go underneath me, I think a red light kicked on my brain,” Dowhy said. “I was like, ‘You’ve got to do something now.’ And me kicking it and how it actually worked out, obviously it was super lucky. I didn't know what was going on because my foot was behind me, so seeing it and rewatching it on video is so crazy.”

Dowhy, with her head nearly on the ice and facing away from the goal, kicked the puck off the goal line with her left skate. Then, it was forward Paige Beebe’s turn.

With precious few seconds left in regulation, Beebe gathered the puck near the left faceoff circle. What happened next went down in Beaver hockey history.

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With barely a second to line up her shot, Beebe flicked the puck down the ice toward the empty net. Anticipation built with each line the puck passed. And when it nicked nylon, the Sanford Center crowd erupted – the Beavers had secured an improbable 3-2 win .

“I looked for a second and I just yeeted it down there,” Beebe said. “I probably couldn't do that again if I tried. Because in practice, you sometimes just throw the puck and half the time it doesn't go where you wanted it. So just another inkling of our perfect moment. It probably couldn't have happened any better than that.”

021622.S.BP.BSUWHKY Paige Beebe goal celebration.jpg
The Beavers celebrate after senior Paige Beebe (18) scored an empty-net goal to defeat No. 2 Ohio State 3-2 on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Dowhy didn’t even see the puck go in. She was tangled up with other obligations.

“I was too busy with my head turned,” Dowhy said. “In one of the clips, you can see I got pushed into the net. And you can see me get up and immediately turn around to the ref, because he's standing right behind there. And I'm just like, was that in? What just happened? And then as I turn over, half the team’s on the ice already.”

The moment was so stunning that Bemidji State’s players instantly flooded the ice. Dowhy was mobbed by some of those teammates but still didn’t know what was going on, as she didn’t get an explanation from the official. Eventually, she realized BSU had scored.

The game wasn’t over, though, as officials reviewed the goal and put 0.3 back on the clock. And 0.3 seconds after the puck was dropped at center ice, pandemonium ensued once again.

“The atmosphere in the locker room was something I've never seen before,” Beebe said. “That was a lot of fun.”

The play was novel enough to rocket up to the top spot in SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays that night. But much like her experience on the ice, Dowhy didn’t learn about it until later – in this case, the next morning.

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When she did, she found that the ESPN anchors handling the highlight had an experience similar to hers.

“They were just like, what just happened?” Dowhy said. “Because I think especially broadcasters, announcers, play-by-play people, if you ask them, ‘Have you seen anything like this before?’ I don't think many people would say yes. So just super cool. That’s the best way I can describe it.”

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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