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WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Beavers fall down, come back with 2 goals for 1st WCHA win

Despite falling into a 1-0 hole on Friday, Bemidji State dug its way out with scores by Shelby Breiland and Reece Hunt, then sealed off Minnesota State's attack down the stretch to claim victory – the Beavers’ first in the WCHA this year.

110222.S.BP.BSUWHKY Hannah Hogenson.jpg
Bemidji State junior Hannah Hogenson (1) deflects a puck during the second period against Minnesota State on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State women’s hockey team had been searching for a breakthrough in WCHA play so far this season.

The Beavers have faced an elite lineup of teams to open conference action – Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin were all ranked in the top five. But unranked Minnesota State was the scheduled opponent this weekend at the Sanford Center, and BSU made its chance count.

Despite falling into a 1-0 hole on Friday, Bemidji State dug its way out with goals by Shelby Breiland and Reece Hunt, then sealed off the Mavericks’ attack down the stretch to claim a 2-1 victory – the Beavers’ first in the WCHA this year.

“(It was) huge,” BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said of the triumph. “Absolutely huge. I'm not going to beat around the bush. That was a big win for our group. I’m really proud of the group as far as their perseverance, their work ethic. We played a lot better in certain areas systematically.”

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The Beavers celebrate after Reece Hunt (29) scored a goal in the third period against Minnesota State on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji State (3-7-1, 1-6 WCHA) consistently led MSU (2-7, 2-7 WCHA) in shots on goal during the game, but that didn’t help them in the first period. An inability to make critical passes in the offensive zone stunted the Beavers’ ability to score, and Minnesota State made that hurt even more with a goal by Sydney Langseth off a deflection at 16:29.

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“I didn't think we connected real well in the offensive zone for a finishing play,” Scanlan said of the first period. “As the game went on, we started creating more. They’re a big, strong defense. They're not going to let you get to the front of the net real easy. So you’ve got to put your head down and go. But we talked about that – we knew there were opportunities there.”

The Beavers evened the ledger in the second period not by crashing the net, but on Breiland’s highlight-reel backhand shot. The sophomore forward spun with the puck in the high slot and laced a swift, stunning backside strike past Mavericks goaltender Lauren Barbro to tie the contest 1-1 at 7:00. Barbro looked as though she never spotted the puck until it was by her.

“I was trying to go for a quick shot,” Breiland said of the goal, the first of her BSU career. “Geno (Hendrickson) had an amazing faceoff win, and I took advantage of it and just got a shot on net. (Scanlan’s) been harping on us to get shots on net, so (I took the) backhand shot and somehow it went in.”

110222.S.BP.BSUWHKY Shelby Breiland.jpg
Bemidji State sophomore Shelby Breiland (7) moves the puck in the third period against Minnesota State on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji State did take the lead by following Scanlan’s net-crashing tenet. At 6:32 in the third period, Barbro left a rebound uncovered right in the middle of the crease, and Hunt poked it home to give the Beavers a 2-1 advantage.

BSU held on down the stretch thanks to solid defensive play and continued excellence from goalie Hannah Hogenson. The junior netminder stopped multiple breakaways during the matchup to keep Bemidji State in striking distance, and she came up big once again as MSU sent its rush forward in the final minutes.

“Mostly just keeping the puck out of the net,” Hogenson said of her mindset. “Having a slower first period, it's harder to get into the game. But keeping busy, I always feel like I'm at my best when I'm being challenged and the stakes are high.”

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Bemidji State sophomore Ella Anick (27) controls the puck in the second period against Minnesota State on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“We never want to leave Hannah on a 1-on-0,” Breiland added. “But we all trust her, and I'm glad she saved all those. But tomorrow, we need to realize that they got around us and get back and reload and pick up those girls so she doesn't have 1-on-0s.”

Hogenson finished with 26 saves in the contest, while Barbro compiled 33 stops.

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The Beavers conclude the series with Minnesota State at 3:01 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, back at the Sanford Center.

Bemidji State 2, Minnesota State 1

MSU 1 0 0 -- 1

BSU 0 1 1 -- 2

First period -- 1, MSU GOAL, Langseth (Otremba, Mashuga), 16:29.

Second period -- 2, BSU GOAL, Breiland (Hendrickson), 7:00.

Third period -- 3, BSU GOAL, Hunt (Nelson, Van De Leest), 6:32.

Saves -- Hogenson (BSU) 26; Barbro (MSU) 33.

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110222.S.BP.BSUWHKY Adriana Van De Leest.jpg
Bemidji State sophomore Adriana Van De Leest (24) chases the puck during the third period against Minnesota State on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
110222.S.BP.BSUWHKY Kayla Santl.jpg
Bemidji State junior Kayla Santl (12) moves the puck during the first period against Minnesota State on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

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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