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WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Beavers bag signature win over Ohio State on Beebe’s last-second strike

It was a magical Friday night for the Bemidji State women’s hockey team at the Sanford Center.

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The Beavers clear the bench to celebrate Paige Beebe’s (18) game-winning goal against No. 2 Ohio State on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI -- It was a magical Friday night for the Bemidji State women’s hockey team at the Sanford Center.

And before the clock struck midnight – or zero – the Beavers had a dream finish on their hands – a 3-2 win over No. 2 Ohio State that ended with a stunning empty-net, game-winning strike by Paige Beebe from her defensive circle at 19:59.7 in the third period.

“I told the group, 40-some years of coaching, I've never seen anything like that,” head coach Jim Scanlan said. “Never had a walk-off win like that. That was pretty amazing.”

BSU players instantly erupted and spilled out onto the ice, thinking the game had ended. After review, officials added three-tenths of a second back to the clock. But the ensuing faceoff at center ice was just a formality.

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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

“I shot the puck, and I was kind of coasting by our bench a little bit,” Beebe said. “Just watching it like probably everybody else was. And then I have girls jumping on my back, getting off the bench because it went in. And we're celebrating. It was a lot of fun.

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“And then they had to check it. And then there was time, 0.3 seconds left after. So we had to all get back on the bench, have that faceoff and got to celly again.”

RELATED: Paige Beebe's goal lands No. 1 on SportsCenter's Top 10

BSU rolled out four forwards to start senior weekend against the Buckeyes. All of them were seniors – fifth-year Lindsey Featherstone, fifth-year Beebe, fourth-year Claudia Verkerke and fourth-year Graysen Myers.

They also started fifth-year goaltender Kerigan Dowhy. And before the night was over, all of them played meaningful roles in the best win of the year for the Beavers – especially Dowhy, who collected a career-high 51 saves and even assisted Beebe’s goal with an equally miraculous no-look kick save with the puck behind her and on the goal line.

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Bemidji State goalie Kerigan Dowhy (33) makes a save late in the third period against Ohio State on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

“My main focus was just spread out and hopefully take away the bottom side of the ice,” Dowhy said. “And it worked, which is great. So then we had Paige there to pick it up off my skate, and the rest is history.”

Ohio State (22-6, 18-6 WCHA) opened the scoring in the first period with a goal by Gabby Rosenthal at 19:57 on the power play. Myers scored Bemidji State’s first goal, a grimy poke in traffic at 16:28 in the second period to tie it at 1.

Kayla Santl put BSU (11-15-3, 8-15-2 WCHA) up 2-1 in the third period, deflecting in Verkerke’s wrist shot at 6:38. This was the first indication that something was brewing in Bemidji.

But it was Ohio State’s Clair DeGeorge, a fifth-year and former Beaver herself, who stopped the celebration with a tying score at 12:25.

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The Beavers celebrate sophomore Kayla Santl’s (12) second-period goal against Ohio State on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

The two teams remained deadlocked until the final minute, when Ohio State pulled goaltender Amanda Thiele to try to win it in regulation. The gamble looked like it would work, as the Buckeyes exerted incredible pressure on the Beavers’ net, including a puck that slid along the goal line.

But Dowhy eventually pried it free with a kick, and it found Beebe’s stick. She lined her shot up quickly and flicked it down the ice, and the rest was for the record books.

Bemidji State’s win was its first over a top-two team since a 3-2 home victory over No. 1 Wisconsin on Jan. 11, 2020.

The Beavers will try to top it tomorrow, as they match up with the Buckeyes once again at 3:01 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12, back at the Sanford Center.

Bemidji State 3, Ohio State 2

OSU 1 0 1 -- 2

BSU 0 1 2 -- 3

First period -- 1, OSU GOAL, Rosenthal (Jaques), 19:57, PP.

Second period -- 2, BSU GOAL, Myers (Beebe, Fortin), 16:28.

Third period -- 3, BSU GOAL, Santl (Verkerke, Anderson), 6:38; 4, OSU GOAL, DeGeorge (Jaques), 12:25; 5, BSU GOAL, Beebe (Dowhy), 19:59, EN.

Saves -- Dowhy (BSU) 51; Thiele (OSU) 12.

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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