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WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Kerigan Dowhy returns to crease after overcoming knee injury

That opportunity came last Saturday, when the fifth-year senior goaltender skated out as a starter against Minnesota Duluth.

012721.S.BP.BSUWHKY Kerigan Dowhy.jpg
Bemidji State goaltender Kerigan Dowhy (33) stops a shot from Minnesota Duluth’s Ashton Bell (26) in the third period on Jan. 23, 2021, at the Sanford Center.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI – It was a long road back for Kerigan Dowhy.

After suffering a grade 2 partial tear of her MCL at Ohio State in October, Dowhy worked for months to restore strength and flexibility to her knee. She was cleared for the Bemidji State women’s hockey team’s series against No. 1 Wisconsin that started on Dec. 10.

But it took her another month to find an opportunity to take the ice. That opportunity came last Saturday, when the fifth-year senior goaltender skated out as a starter against Minnesota Duluth.

“It felt awesome being back,” Dowhy said. “It kind of felt like I was out for a lifetime. But it was three months, and in your last year of hockey, that can seem like a lot of time you've lost.”

It had been a long layoff, but Dowhy performed well in her return to action. She posted 29 saves in the Beavers’ 3-0 loss in Duluth.

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“She was ready,” head coach Jim Scanlan said. “Certainly leading up to the Christmas break, she was showing signs, but I don't think she was mentally quite there yet. That's a fairly significant injury to come back from. It was really, really important for all of us that she be comfortable and be confident. And she came back from the break and looked like herself, and was playing extremely sharp, playing with a lot of confidence.”

The success of sophomore netminder Hannah Hogenson helped Dowhy take her time to ease back into physical and mental playing shape. Now, BSU has two excellent options to take the pipes on a given night.

“It’s nice to have that situation where you’ve got two goalies that have proven themselves,” Scanlan said. “Kerigan certainly has a lot of experience, but Hannah has been outstanding in the 17, 18 games that she played when Kerigan was out.”

Regardless of who starts in net moving forward, Scanlan expects the two to continue to battle in practice and support each other on and off the ice.

“They're competitors,” Scanlan said. “They're going to battle, they're going to work hard in practice, which is what we expect. But they're also each other's biggest supporters, and they're going to be good teammates. So whatever we decide, they're going to be pulling for their team whether they're in the net or not.”

Now that both have played this year, even in the same series, they have a new perspective to share when diagnosing how to best stop an opponent.

“I think (Hogenson) was genuinely happy for me (when I came back),” Dowhy said. “So just kind of feeling her support was really great. We can talk about games, certain plays, saves, goals. We can relate to each other. So it's super nice having someone that I can talk to and vice versa.”

It remains to be seen who will start on Friday against St. Cloud State at the Sanford Center, but one thing’s for certain – whoever does, they’ll have the full support of their co-star.

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Bemidji State (7-12-3, 4-12-2 WCHA) faces the Huskies (7-12-1, 2-11-1 WCHA) at 3:01 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 21, and 2:01 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Sanford Center.

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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