WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Penalty-kill unit helps lift Beavers to fourth straight win

BEMIDJI -- Second periods have given the Bemidji State women's hockey team some trouble this season, but that wasn't a problem Friday afternoon. The Beavers (9-10-2, 5-7-1-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) scored twice in the middle stanza...

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BSU freshman Clair DeGeorge (26) races down the ice with the puck in the second period against Minnesota State on Friday at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- Second periods have given the Bemidji State women’s hockey team some trouble this season, but that wasn’t a problem Friday afternoon.

The Beavers (9-10-2, 5-7-1-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) scored twice in the middle stanza en route to their fourth straight win, a 4-2 victory over Minnesota State.

A flukey goal 35 seconds into the game off a dump into the zone from the blue line gave the Mavericks (3-15-1, 1-10-0-0 WCHA) a 1-0 lead.

Emily Bergland evened the score with her goal from the slot at 16:12 of the first frame to leave the game tied at 1-all after 20 minutes. The junior’s goal set the Beavers up for the type of second period they’ve been looking for.

“We wanted to have a good second period,” BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said. “It’s a period that we’ve struggled in throughout the season so we’ve really made an emphasis to try to have a good second period.”


Kaasa started the period on the right foot, sniping a shot top shelf into the upper right corner from the left circle to gain the Beavers’ first lead at 1:17 of the frame.

Taylor Gulenchyn equalized for the Mavericks midway through the second. Brittyn Fleming found Gulenchyn in the slot for a quick one-timer past Bench that tied the game at 2-2.

Following the goal, BSU successfully killed a pair of penalties in the latter half of the period to maintain the deadlock.

The penalty kill did its job in the second, and so did Emma Terres.

The senior co-captain pocketed a goal to move the Beavers back into the lead with 1 minute, 7 seconds left in the frame. Paige Beebe earned the primary assist with her pass from beside the cage to Terres curling in the slot, while Clair DeGeorge picked up the secondary helper.

“Credit Mankato -- they came back and responded and got one,” Scanlan said. “But then Paige Beebe makes a really nice, patient play to Emma, who shows even more patience and scores.”

The Beavers’ special-team units preserved the lead, killing all three penalties Friday, with Reilly Fawcett’s shot blocking especially garnering praise.

“She’s just fearless,” Scanlan said. “She puts her body in front of that puck all the time.”


“Fawcett is all about blocking shots,” Bergland added. “It was good to see her get a couple. It was definitely big.

“We need to be a little more aggressive I think. We kind of were giving up some opportunities, especially from the point, but we held them to nothing so that was good.”

The penalty kill erased another MSU power play in the third period before BSU took advantage of its first power play of the game with Abby Halluska’s tally off a long centering pass from Bergland that finalized the score. The Beavers finished 1-for-3 on the advantage with all three power plays coming in the final frame.

Lauren Bench picked up her fourth win of the season to improve to 4-4-0 in net.

The three points earned in the WCHA standings ties the Beavers for fourth with Minnesota Duluth at 17 points apiece.

Bemidji State will go for sole possession of fourth place in today’s series finale against Minnesota State. The game will also mark the end of the first half of the season as the Beavers will be on break until a Jan. 2-3 non-conference home series against Mercyhurst.

“Coming into the weekend especially we knew that there were a lot of points on the line anyways, and three important points,” Bergland said. “Tomorrow is huge too. We just need to make sure we do the right things and get the three points if we can.”

Bemidji State 4, Minnesota State 2


MSU 1 1 0 -- 2

BSU 1 2 1 -- 4

First period -- 1, MSU, Sederberg (Keys), 0:35; 2, BSU, Bergland (Kaasa, Jorde), 16:12.

Second period -- 3, BSU, Kaasa (Joyce), 1:17; 4, MSU, Gulenchyn (Fleming, Kondas), 9:20; 5, BSU, Terres (Beebe, DeGeorge), 18:53.

Third period -- 6, BSU, Halluska (Bergland, Joyce), 10:23, PP.

Goaltending (Shots-Saves) -- BSU, Bench (21-19); MSU, Bidulka (34-30).

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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