WOMEN’S HOCKEY: BSU hopes to put a ribbon on first half
BEMIDJI -- The accolades are piling up for the Bemidji State women's hockey team. This week alone the Beavers have seen Haley Mack be named NCAA Third Star of the Week and WCHA Offensive Player of the Week after a five-point weekend (3g-2a) while...
BEMIDJI -- The accolades are piling up for the Bemidji State women’s hockey team.
This week alone the Beavers have seen Haley Mack be named NCAA Third Star of the Week and WCHA Offensive Player of the Week after a five-point weekend (3g-2a) while Alexis Joyce collected WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors after her four-point series (3g-1a).
The Beavers also received votes in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls on the heels of their first home sweep of the season over Rochester Institute of Technology.
The team, which had just gone through an emotional split at Minnesota the previous weekend, also played through the stress of final exams last week.
“I was just worried that it was kind of a trap series,” BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said. “You never know how things are going to go. But all in all, it turned out to be a good weekend. I don’t think we were at our best in terms of how we can play, but we found a way and got through it.”
Besides Joyce’s four points, freshman Mak Langei also generated offense from the blue line with her three helpers on the weekend, while fellow rookie Kerigan Dowhy earned her second career win in net Saturday.
The sweep puts the Beavers’ early-season woes fully behind them. BSU is 7-3-1 in its last 11 games after a 1-7-1 start in a challenging slate of games to open the year.
“I think probably the biggest thing is defensive awareness and how we want to play in our zone,” Scanlan said of the team’s recent stretch. “Another thing we’ve stressed an awful lot is puck possession…. We’re not making what we call ‘hope plays’ where we just throw in the puck and hope that someone from our team is going to get to the other end of it.
“We’re making good decisions and we’re getting all five players involved in the offensive zone and our defensemen are active, everybody’s moving their feet. And when we do that, we can be really, really effective and it just wears our opponents down because they’re playing in their zone an awful lot.”
Bemidji State (8-10-2, 4-7-1-1 WCHA) will have the chance to break into the top four of the WCHA standings with its final series of the first half. BSU will welcome Minnesota State to the Sanford Center for a pair of 3:07 p.m. games Friday, Dec. 15, and Saturday, Dec. 16, before starting holiday break.
The Beavers (14 points) sit three points behind fourth-place Minnesota Duluth, which has already begun its Christmas sabbatical. Scanlan began stressing the importance of this weekend even before the RIT series.
“We want to be a top-four team in our league and now’s an opportunity,” Scanlan said. “We can elevate ourselves to that position if we take care of business this weekend.”
The Mavericks (3-14-1, 1-9-0-0 WCHA) had lost eight-straight games before splitting with Lindenwood last week, winning 5-4 in game one before a 4-1 loss the next day.
“They haven’t necessarily had the wins but they’ve been working hard,” Langei said, “so hopefully we’ll be able to match that and work just as hard against them.”