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WOMEN’S HOCKEY: No blues for Beavers in St. Louis -- just brisket and wins

It starts with the sweep. But that’s only the beginning.

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The Bemidji State women's hockey team attends a St. Louis Blues game on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in St. Louis. (Contributed)

BEMIDJI -- It starts with the sweep.

The Bemidji State women’s hockey team traipsed into Maryland Heights, Mo., last weekend after three straight losses and emerged with 4-1 and 4-3 wins over Lindenwood, doubling the Beavers’ previous win total and restoring some good vibes to a season that has been bereft of them at times.

But that’s only the beginning.

BSU (4-8-2, 1-8-1 WCHA) took full advantage of the trip off the ice as well. Maryland Heights is a nearby suburb of St. Louis, and the Beavers ventured across the Gateway to the West during their extended road sojourn.

They attended a St. Louis Blues game, stopped at the famous Gateway Arch and visited iconic Busch Stadium, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals.

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The Bemidji State women's hockey team poses in front of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis during its trip to play Lindenwood in November 2021. (Contributed)

And then there’s the food.

One of the many benefits of the long road trip down to the St. Louis area was the number of stops along the way at which Bemidji State could share a team meal.

“One thing (assistant coach) Emma Terres does is she always finds local (restaurants),” head coach Jim Scanlan said. “She'll never go to a chain restaurant, and she always picks really good ones. And in fact, (goaltender) Kerigan Dowhy, we had a brisket-type place for (our pregame meal). She said, ‘This is the best meal I've had in five years.’”

The Beavers stopped in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on their journey down to Maryland Heights, finding another nice local restaurant to eat at. But the fun really began once they hit St. Louis.

“We definitely ate well this past weekend,” forward Paige Beebe said. “We would have lunch and it was amazing food. And then it would be dinner time, and you're not really hungry just because you ate so well. … And then it was more food.

“It's cool to go to these local places of St. Louis. Sometimes we just get hotel food, which is all really good. But getting (to) the more local sit-down places, it was a lot of fun and definitely an experience.”

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The full experience of the trip allowed BSU to build camaraderie that can be hard to find on shorter trips. The extension of the trek over Thanksgiving break allowed the Beavers to get to know each other in a more personal way, something that translated to their cohesion on the ice.

“We just had a lot more time to do a lot more team building, which I think kind of correlates to how we played on the ice,” Beebe said.

A certain Bemidji State coach did not partake in the bonding power of the brisket years ago. He made sure to sample the regional delicacy this time during the Beavers’ stay in St. Louis.

“I was at a place four or five years ago that was known for its brisket, and I got a salad, and I heard about it,” Scanlan said. “So I made sure I got brisket this time. It was well worth it.”

All brisket-based shaming aside, BSU found the right mix of business and pleasure on its trip. It may just have changed the Beavers’ season.
“After a long weekend, we were tired, but it was probably the most fun I've had in a long time,” Beebe said.

With their new smoked meats mojo, the Beavers now face the task of taking down St. Cloud State. BSU faces the Huskies at 3:01 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, and at 2:01 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, in St. Cloud.

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