WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Beavers outlast UMD in 4OT thriller to extend playoff series

030120.S.BP.BSUWHKY Reece Hunt
Clair DeGeorge reacts after Reece Hunt of Bemidji State scores a goal in the fourth overtime against Minnesota Duluth goaltender Maddie Rooney during Saturday's game at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. The game which included four overtime periods was the longest in the history of both programs. (Clint Austin / Forum News Service)

DULUTH -- Freshman forward Reece Hunt hit the crossbar earlier in Saturday’s WCHA women’s hockey playoff game with Minnesota Duluth, so when she was presented with a similar opportunity later, she figured why not try it again.

And this time, it went in, going over UMD goalie Maddie Rooney’s right shoulder.

Hunt’s second goal of the game, this one coming at 8:43 in the fourth overtime, ended an epic as Bemidji State clipped ninth-ranked UMD 2-1 at Amsoil Arena in the longest game in BSU women’s hockey history and the second-longest in NCAA women’s hockey history. The game — which lasted 128 minutes, 43 seconds and spanned 4 hours, 50 minutes — was also the longest in WCHA history.

“Honestly, by that time, my legs were numb, my brain was pretty fried,” Hunt said. “I just shot it, hoped for the best and thank God it went in.”

The deciding Game 3 of their WCHA quarterfinal series is 4:07 p.m. Sunday back at Amsoil.


What a difference in moods after the Beavers fell 2-1 in overtime in Friday night’s series opener. Instead, Bemidji State players gave each other friendly ribbing and were all smiles leaving the locker room as Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” blared from a stereo.

With the teams combining for 132 shots on goal, one could write a book about the scoring chances in this one, but one that comes to mind was Anna Klein’s shot off the pipe in the third overtime that UMD (17-11-6) thought had gone in and started to celebrate. Bemidji State (16-17-3) had other ideas. The Beavers weren’t going to stand around and say congrats for coming close; instead, they came back firing and Rooney froze the puck after making another save on the other end.

UMD coach Maura Crowell said she had nothing to be mad about after this one.

“Both teams emptied the tanks,” she said. “This was a historic game between one team desperately trying to keep their season alive, and another team desperately trying to end Bemidji’s season. We know that was an awesome hockey game, with both teams battling for seven periods. We gave it our all. We put everything into it and came up short. Credit them for getting a nice shot off there at the end.”

Saturday’s game got off to an offensive start compared to Friday’s contest, when the game remained scoreless until the third.

UMD sophomore center Gabby Hughes opened the scoring with her 20th goal — and 50th point — of the season at 8:48 in the first, somehow punching it in off the goalie as Hughes worked behind the net. Bemidji State answered less than three minutes later when Reece Hunt’s shot appeared to bounce off Rooney and up into the net as Rooney was sprawled out in front.

And that would be it for the rest of the first, and then the second, and the third, and the first overtime, and the second overtime, and the third. The second and third periods of regulation were rather ho hum — UMD’s pep band had more pep — but the first overtime, despite no goals, was entertaining, up-and-down action with plenty of scoring opportunities. The second and third overtimes were also entertaining. The goalies proved to be the great equalizers until the end.

Rooney finished with 59 saves for UMD and Lauren Bench had 70 for Bemidji State, including 18 in the third overtime alone. Bench’s save total is a program record and is tied for ninth-most in NCAA history.


BSU head coach Jim Scanlan earned his 100th career victory as he became the first coach in program history to reach the milestone. His career record now stands at 100-104-15.

The game was the Beavers’ eighth overtime contest of the season and their second win, going 2-3-3. It was UMD’s 10th overtime game and the first one the Bulldogs have lost, going 3-1-6 in those contests. It obliterated the previous record for longest game in Amsoil Arena history, lasted for five hours and basically included more than two full games of hockey.

Going into the fourth period fans were talking amongst themselves in the concourse, shaking their heads and saying, “Can you believe this? This is crazy.”

It was remarkable as many fans stuck around as did, perhaps realizing they were witnessing part of history.

An epic heavyweight fight where both fighters refused to give up, and with no limit on rounds, no judges to decide the victor.

“This feels so good,” Hunt said. “I think I blacked out after that goal. We just wanted it so bad.”

Bemidji State 2, No. 9 Minnesota Duluth 1 (4OT)

BSU 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 -- 2


UMD 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 1

First period — 1, UMD, Hughes (Klein), 8:48; 2, BSU, Hunt (Mack), 11:36.

Second period — No scoring.

Third period — No scoring.

First overtime — No scoring.

Second overtime — No scoring.

Third overtime — No scoring.

Fourth overtime — 3, BSU, Hunt (Mack, Jorde), 8:43.


Saves — Lauren Bench, BSU, 11-8-6-13-10-18-4—70; Maddie Rooney, UMD, 11-13-7-10-7-8-3—59.

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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