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WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Beavers finish promising first half with tie against Mavericks

A weekend in which the Beavers gained six points on MSU in the WCHA standings was within reach.

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Bemidji State freshman Makenna Deering (2) shoots in the first period against Minnesota State on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
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BEMIDJI -- Lindsey Featherstone scored for the Bemidji State women’s hockey team 11:23 into the second period Saturday at the Sanford Center, giving BSU a 1-0 lead over Minnesota State. A weekend in which the Beavers gained six points on MSU in the WCHA standings was within reach.

But the Mavericks had something to say about that. MSU responded with a goal 12:33 into the third period, a deflected shot off the stick of Madison Mashuga which tied the game at 1.

From there, both teams held the line through the third period and 3-on-3 overtime. The extra standings point went the way of Minnesota State in the shootout, as Sydney Langseth notched the only conversion of the session.

“The group in the locker room was disappointed, and that's because they care,” BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said. “They know what was on line in terms of those points.”

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Bemidji State freshman Kendra Fortin (26) shoots in the first period against Minnesota State on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

The Beavers couldn’t cash out any power-play opportunities, including 1:48 of 5-on-3 time to start the third period. A goal there may have put the Mavericks away, but Bemidji State couldn’t find the twine.

BSU finished 0-for-6 on the power play, while MSU goaltender Calla Frank denied 24 of 25 shots.

“When you have the chances that we had, particularly a 5-on-3, and you come up empty, that can tend to come back and bite you,” Scanlan said.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom this weekend, though. BSU finished the series with a record of 1-0-1 against a team looking down at them in the standings, evidence that the Beavers are starting to emerge as a team that can move up in the WCHA pecking order.

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Bemidji State sophomore Gabbie Smith (20) passes the puck in the first period against Minnesota State on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

“I think we had a great game last night,” Featherstone said. “Kind of tweaked some things going into today. Obviously, it's not the outcome that we wanted, but I think it's kind of a good note to go into break (on). We have 12 games left next half, so you can kind of carry that momentum into when we get back.”

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Bemidji State enters the extended winter break with a record of 7-10-3 (4-10-2 WCHA), placing them sixth in the conference standings behind fifth-place Minnesota State (9-10-1, 5-10-1 WCHA).

The Beavers have shown flashes of a team that could potentially challenge for the fifth seed or higher. A key component of that promise has been sophomore goaltender Hannah Hogenson, who recorded 28 saves to once again buttress BSU in its quest for the sweep. Bemidji State didn’t get it done this time, but the Beavers seem confident better days are ahead.

“We just said (in the locker room), ‘Hey, we’ve grown a lot as a team,’” Scanlan said. “... You're disappointed that you give up a one-goal lead in the third period. But (we’ll have) a much-needed break, an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. And when they come back, we'll get back at it.”

BSU will return to the ice against Minnesota Duluth at 3:01 p.m. on both Jan. 14-15, in Duluth.

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Bemidji senior Claudia Verkerke (6) passes the puck in the first period against Minnesota State on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Minnesota State 1, Bemidji State 1 (MSU wins SO 1-0)

MSU 0 0 1 0 -- 1

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BSU 0 1 0 0 -- 1

First period -- No scoring.

Second period -- 1, BSU GOAL, Featherstone (T. Nelson, Smith), 11:23, DP.

Third period -- 2, MSU GOAL, Mashuga (Wemple, E. Nelson), 12:33.

Overtime – No scoring.

Shootout – MSU wins 1-0.

Saves -- Hogenson (BSU) 28; Frank (MSU) 24.

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Bemidji State freshman Alyssa Watkins (16) attempts to score in the first period against Minnesota State on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / 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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