WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Hunt nets hat trick in Senior Day loss for Beavers

021220.S.BP.BSUWHKY Reece Hunt.jpg
Bemidji State freshman Reece Hunt scores one of her three goals in Saturday's game against Minnesota at the Sanford Center. (BSU photo)

BEMIDJI -- Saturday may have been Senior Day, but a freshman stole the spotlight for the Bemidji State women’s hockey team.

Reece Hunt earned her first career hat trick, though No. 3/4 Minnesota spoiled the festivities by netting three third-period goals to break a 3-3 tie and escape with a 6-3 victory at the Sanford Center, completing the series sweep.

Three times the Beavers (14-15-3, 8-12-2-0 WCHA) faced one-goal deficits. Three times Hunt was there for an equalizer.

“Our line was rolling I guess,” said Hunt, who entered the game with one goal and 11 assists on the season. “We were snake-bit yesterday, so to get a few goals as a line today was nice.”

“None of them were rockets,” head coach Jim Scanlan added with a laugh. “But they found their way into the net, and that’s what matters. And for Reece, particularly, she’s had so many games where she’s had a lot of really good chances and just has been snake-bit. But tonight, to see her get rewarded like that, that was pretty fun to see.”


Sarah Potomak put the Gophers (23-5-3, 15-5-2-1 WCHA) on top first, evading a defender and wristing a puck far side into the back of the net for the game’s opening goal with 8:12 to go in the first period.

Hunt’s first goal came minutes later as she skated around the side of the net and scored from a tight angle, roofing a shot past Sydney Scobee to tie the game before intermission.

In the middle stanza, Crystalyn Hengler regained the lead for Minnesota with her marker mere moments after a BSU penalty expired.

Hunt wasted no time in knotting the game back up. The Nelson, British Columbia, native one-timed a pass from Haley Mack that glanced off Scobee and found the back of the net.

Later in the frame, Grace Zumwinkle made a nice play to lift a shot past Lauren Bench to, again, pull the visitors ahead by a goal.

And yet again, Hunt had the answer. The freshman completed her hat trick barely a minute after Zumwinkle’s marker to level the score once more at 3-3 after two periods.

Taylor Heise netted the eventual game-winner only 91 seconds into the third. The Gopher collected a loose puck that deflected off the skate of a defender and deposited it over a sprawled-out Bench.

The one-goal margin lasted until Zumwinkle scored off a one-timer with 3:40 to play. Kippin Keller buried an empty netter with 2:29 to play to finalize the score.


Bench finished with 23 saves in the loss, while Scobee came up with 19.

Minnesota outshot BSU 29-22, though the home side had a 12-7 edge in the second period in a tighter game than Friday’s 4-1 loss.

Coupled with Minnesota Duluth’s 4-1 win Saturday over Ohio State, the Beavers’ loss eliminated them from contention for home ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. The Beavers, currently in fifth place, will head to either OSU or UMD for the quarterfinals as either the fifth or sixth seed.

Abby Halluska, Briana Jorde, Jacqueline Kaasa, Heather Olson, Kiki Radke, Bench and Mack were honored following their final home game as part of Senior Day festivities. Bench, a redshirt junior, is headed to medical school next year.

“I can’t really put it into words,” said Mack, who posted two assists. “It’s just so crazy how we’re already seniors. It goes by fast, like everybody else says, but just being able to cherish my four years here with six other wonderful ladies who will be my friends for the rest of my life is pretty special and I’ll never take it for granted.”

BSU will close the regular season next weekend, Feb. 14-15, at St. Cloud State. The WCHA playoffs begin the weekend of Feb. 28.

No. 3/4 Minnesota 6, Bemidji State 3

UM 1 2 3 -- 6


BSU 1 2 0 -- 3

First period -- 1, UM, S. Potomak (Marshall, Heise), 11:48; 2, BSU, Hunt (DeGeorge, Mack), 15:52.

Second period -- 3, UM, Hengler (A. Potomak, Woken), 5:25; 4, BSU, Hunt (Mack, Langei), 6:33; 5, UM, Zumwinkle (S. Potomak), 15:18; 6, BSU, Hunt (DeGeorge, Olson), 18:18.

Third period -- 7, UM, Heise (Zumwinkle), 1:31; 8, UM, Zumwinkle (Ostertag), 16:20; 9, UM, Keller (Boreen, Knowles), 17:31, EN.

Goalies (saves-shots) -- BSU, Bench (23-28); UM, Scobee (19-22).

Austin Monteith is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of Bloomington, Ill., he is a 2015 graduate of Butler University. Follow him on Twitter at @amonteith92. Contact the Pioneer sports department at
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