ST. CLOUD -- Lauren Bench logged a 26-save shutout for the Bemidji State women’s hockey team and even posted her first career assist in a 3-0 road victory over St. Cloud State on Friday night.
Haley Mack broke a program record with her fifth career shorthanded goal, the most ever by any BSU player. The senior fired the goal into an empty net to ice the win, the 99th of head coach Jim Scanlan’s tenure in Bemidji.
Friday’s victory, coupled with a Minnesota State loss, clinched the No. 5 seed in the WCHA playoffs for the Beavers (15-15-3, 9-12-2-0 WCHA). They’ll go on the road for the league quarterfinals to face the No. 4 seed. Minnesota Duluth currently owns a two-point edge on Ohio State for third place.
Abby Halluska and Jacqueline Kaasa started the scoring for Bemidji State following a scoreless opening frame.
Halluska skated to her seventh goal of the season late in the second stanza to put BSU on top. Clair DeGeorge notched her team-leading 14th assist of the season and Bench picked up her first career helper.
Kaasa tipped in Grayson Myers’ shot at the 5:31 mark of the third period, the fifth goal this year for Kaasa and the first point for Myers.
The Huskies (5-21-4, 1-19-1-0 WCHA) pulled Emma Polusny for the extra attacker and drew a power play soon after for a 6-on-4 advantage with 1:21 to go. But Mack collected her team-leading 14th goal of the season to set the program shorthanded goals record with 1:06 remaining.
Bench turned aside 26 shots to earn her fourth shutout of the season, while Polusny made 27 saves in the loss.
The Beavers will bring the regular season to a close Saturday when they conclude the series at 3:07 p.m. The WCHA playoffs will begin Feb. 28.
Bemidji State 3, St. Cloud State 0
BSU 0 1 2 -- 3
SCSU 0 0 0 -- 0
First period -- No scoring.
Second period -- 1, BSU, Halluska (DeGeorge, Bench), 17:41.
Third period -- 2, BSU, Kaasa (Myers), 5:31; 3, BSU, Mack (Kampa), 18:54, SH, EN.
Goalies (saves-shots) -- BSU, Bench (26-26); SCSU, Polusny (27-29).