Rolling into Ridder: BSU women hope to continue success at one of nation’s toughest arenas (W/VIDEO)
The Minnesota women's hockey team doesn't often lose at home. Even rarer is when the Golden Gophers don't win a two-game series. Last season, Bemidji State was the author of both of those Gopher defeats, taking five points from Minnesota at Ridde...
The Minnesota women’s hockey team doesn’t often lose at home. Even rarer is when the Golden Gophers don’t win a two-game series.
Last season, Bemidji State was the author of both of those Gopher defeats, taking five points from Minnesota at Ridder Arena. It was the first time Minnesota lost a home series since the 2010-11 season.
And now the Beavers, who are currently ahead of the Gophers in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings, return to Minneapolis looking for more this weekend.
“It’s not like we need to give them any more incentive,” BSU head coach Jim Scanlan joked Tuesday.
The Beavers (10-2-2, 7-2-1 WCHA) are riding a four-game winning streak, which includes a sweep of Ohio State last weekend. BSU was without two of their top six forwards against the Buckeyes but still took both games. Stephanie Anderson was playing with Team USA in the Four Nations Cup while Kristin Huber went down in the first period of last Friday’s game with an injury and didn’t return on the weekend.
BSU found a way to persevere in both games, using their depth to grit out the wins.
Scanlan said he was impressed with how all four of his forward lines have played this season, stepping in to score when injuries or absences arise.
“This group really plays for each other,” he said. “They play for the sweater as well as any group I’ve ever had. It doesn’t matter who you call on, they’re going to go out there. Nobody wants to be the player that’s going to let anyone else down so you go out and compete as hard as you can. As a coach you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Sophomore Emma Terres, a forward who has been seeing most of her time on the fourth line with freshmen Emily Bergland and Sylvia Marolt, scored the game-winning goal in Saturday’s 3-1 win.
“I think we have a talented group of girls here,” she said. “All four of our lines are strong, all of our D are strong. Anybody out there will play well.”
This week the Beavers will have Anderson back in the lineup and Scanlan said on Tuesday that he hoped Huber would be ready to go. Either way, he knows they have a daunting task in front of them.
“They present a lot of challenges, but bottom line is we have to go play our game,” he said. “We don’t want to try and get into a track meet with them. We just have to play our game. It’s a cliche, obviously, but we have to take it a period at a time and see what happens.”
The Gophers (9-1-0, 7-1-0 WCHA) certainly won’t be taking the Beavers lightly this weekend.
“They’re a team that had the most success against us last year,” Minnesota head coach Brad Frost said. “More than any other team in the country. We went 2-2-1 against them. They’re extremely well coached, very disciplined, hard to score on. They don’t score a lot of goals offensively but they love winning games 1-0, 2-1.”
Minnesota’s lone loss this season was against North Dakota in Grand Forks last month. The Beavers also beat the Gophers once last season in Grand Forks - during the Frozen Faceoff semifinal game.
Anderson, who will be in the lineup for Friday's game (a 7:07 p.m. faceoff) said she was anxious about not being able to help her team last weekend against the Buckeyes but she’s glad to be back to play the Gophers - her former team.
“I definitely missed the girls,” she said. “I was watching both games when I was at my hotel in Sweden. They had me a little nervous in (last Friday night’s) game but they pulled it off.
“I’m just excited to get back with the team, and going to Ridder for that series, right after getting home, is just a cherry on top. If we can get a few points that would be even better.”