WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Season underway, BSU ventures away from home for 1st time
Bemidji State (1-1-0) will hit the road for the first time this season with a Thursday/Friday series at Minnesota State (1-5-0).
BEMIDJI -- For a group that had waited so long for its first games, head coach Jim Scanlan was pleased with how his Bemidji State women’s hockey team fared in its first game action of 2020-21.
The Beavers split a season-opening Western Collegiate Hockey Association series with St. Cloud State last week at the Sanford Center. Both games ended in 3-on-3 overtime with scores of 3-2, with the Beavers earning their first win of the season in the series finale Friday.
While the Huskies had already played four games this year, BSU had recently gone two weeks with most of the team in quarantine due to COVID-19 cases.
“I just liked our compete level. I thought our work ethic was really, really good through 60 minutes,” Scanlan said. “Certainly, from just the little things in the game you could tell we hadn’t played. But I thought we were really, really competitive. I thought we certainly had a chance on Thursday.”
Following the series-opening loss, Clair DeGeorge bagged her second and third goals of the weekend in Friday’s victory, including the winner in 3-on-3 overtime. Kara Werth fired the initial shot from the blue line that was tipped in by DeGeorge up front.
The victory was the Beavers’ first in 3-on-3 overtime since the WCHA implemented the format last season.
“In zone, obviously stick to your man,” Werth said of her approach to playing 3-on-3 as a defenseman. “That’s the basic principle in the (defensive) zone for 3-on-3. And then just not rushing it is definitely a big thing, and taking your time and not forcing plays. Usually something seems to work out when you just allow things to happen instead of trying to force it.”
A senior, Werth also connected on Ellie Moser’s third-period goal that briefly handed BSU a 2-1 lead Friday. Her two assists equal the number of helpers Werth tallied all of last season as she looks to get more involved on offense.
“I think I’m an offensive defenseman, so I think that’s how I wanted to play this year,” Werth said.
Bemidji State (1-1-0) will hit the road for the first time this season with a Thursday/Friday series at Minnesota State. The Mavericks (1-5-0) dropped a home-and-home set with then-No. 3 Minnesota last week, falling 5-1 at home before a 2-1 road loss.
“They’re a good team. Their record might not show it,” Scanlan said, “but they’ve played a pretty doggone tough schedule. … They have a good, young team. They have some really good defensemen. Anna Wilgren is one of the best defensemen in the league. They’ve got some young freshmen that are doing particularly well, and they’re getting good goaltending.”
Road trips won’t be quite the same this season due to COVID-19 restrictions. Players will be limited in their ability to venture out of the team hotel much, or even have normal team meals, as they try to stay within their own bubble.
“It’s definitely going to be weird. Probably with our free time we’re going to have even less to do, which will be fun,” Werth chuckled. “We have box dinners. We have roommates, which are just our housemates, and we’ll pretty much just stay in our bubble and hopefully entertain each other instead of being able to see our parents and stuff. It’ll definitely be a change, but we’ll still have each other, so we’ll be good.”
At a glance
Who: BSU at Minnesota State
When: 2:07 p.m. Thursday & Friday
Radio: Beaver Radio Network/1300 AM & 94.3 FM
Web stream: FloHockey.tv