WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Freshmen getting experience for BSU

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State women's hockey team's first weekend "off" wasn't exactly a breather. The Beavers hosted the Minnesota Whitecaps in a two-game exhibition series last weekend, dropping both games, 4-1 and 5-8. But despite the two losse...


BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State women’s hockey team’s first weekend “off” wasn’t exactly a breather.

The Beavers hosted the Minnesota Whitecaps in a two-game exhibition series last weekend, dropping both games, 4-1 and 5-8.

But despite the two losses BSU was able to use those games to get some valuable playing time for its big freshman class -- something BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said will help the Beavers in the long run. The Beavers (4-7-1 overall, 2-7-1 WCHA) host St. Cloud State for a pair of 3:07 p.m. WCHA games this weekend at the Sanford Center.

“We probably should have brought an extra puck or two so we could have touched it every now and then instead of watching them,” Scanlan joked. “But overall it was a good opportunity for a lot of people to play more minutes than normal. We played all eight of our defensemen on Friday, seven Saturday. We got some different players in different roles, all in all it was good.”

Although freshmen forwards Haley Mack, Jacqueline Kaasa, Abby Halluska and Kiki Radke have appeared in the majority of BSU’s games, freshmen defenders Heather Olson and Brianna Jorde have played more sparingly.


All six saw significant minutes against the Whitecaps.

Mack, Jorde and Olson combined for BSU’s lone goal on Friday while Kaasa scored two goals on Saturday.

“We were all given an opportunity there,” Kaasa said. “We just tried our hardest to execute, we know this weekend was going to be difficult. It was good to get the experience.”

Olson, a Bemidji High School graduate, was paired with Thief River Falls’ Jorde for both games.

“One thing I wanted to do while I was out there is get that gap down and playing against that kind of speed, up to that level,” Olson said. “Eight of those girls are Olympians. You have to get used to it because in this league everybody's good. So having a game like this that doesn’t count towards the books but counts towards your ability to keep developing, it’s really helpful.”

Scanlan said Saturday’s game especially -- a wild 8-5 offensive onslaught -- should be a boost to BSU’s confidence.

“Hopefully it’s a reaffirmation that we can put the puck in the net,” he said. “We all know how hard it is to score in this league. We’re going to face another good goalie this weekend against St. Cloud, so we just need to work hard and keep getting chances, I firmly believe more will start going into the net.”

Freshman Janine Alder has started in eight games for the Huskies and has a 1.84 goals-against average. The Huskies are 4-7-1 overall but 4-4-1 when she is in the net.


SCSU is also four points ahead of BSU in the standings with 11; BSU is tied for sixth place with Ohio State.

“They’re ahead of us. They know that coming in,” Scanlan said. “They’re certainly going to want to stay ahead of us, and we want to get ahead of them. Every weekend is big, but if we want to be a top four team, we have to start point points in the win column.”

Jack is a copy editor for Forum News Service.
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