ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Sophomores help guide BSU into new campaign

BEMIDJI -- There's a chance of snow in the forecast Friday, Sept. 28, which is fitting for the Bemidji State women's hockey team. The Beavers are set to meet top-ranked Clarkson in the season opener that night at the Sanford Center as the 2018-19...

cp.111817.s.bp.bsuwhky-clair-degeorge.jpg
BSU freshman Clair DeGeorge (26) looks for Paige Beebe, who scored to give the Beavers a 2-1 lead in first period against Ohio State, on Friday at the Sanford Center. DeGeorge was credited with the assist. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- There’s a chance of snow in the forecast Friday, Sept. 28, which is fitting for the Bemidji State women’s hockey team.

The Beavers are set to meet top-ranked Clarkson in the season opener that night at the Sanford Center as the 2018-19 campaign dawns on the program.

“In the offseason you enjoy your time to recharge, but you also get to the point where you really look forward to getting started again,” said BSU head coach Jim Scanlan.

Senior defenseman Melissa Hunt will captain the Beavers, along with assistant captains senior forward Emily Bergland and junior forward Kiki Radke. Forward Sylvia Marolt is the only other senior on the young squad.

“There’s a lot of honor in that role, and I’m just really thankful for my team,” Hunt said of wearing the “C” on her sweater. “They were definitely helping me be a leader by them all being leaders.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Junior forward Haley Mack was the Beavers’ leading scorer last season as a sophomore, finishing with 25 points (11g-14a) on a balanced attack. Eight of the team’s top 10 scorers return, including two of their three leading goal scorers -- Mack and Bergland.

Redshirt sophomore Lauren Bench and sophomore Kerigan Dowhy will lead the way in goal after starting a combined 25 games last year.

“We’ve got a real good group coming back,” Scanlan said. “I think the core of our team is made up predominantly of juniors and sophomores, and all of those players certainly played big roles in our team last year. You have the leadership and the experience of our three seniors, and then the enthusiasm that the freshmen always bring in.”

Five freshmen will join the team -- forwards Claudia Verkerke, Ellie Moser and Graysen Myers; defenseman Lexi Cheveldayoff; and goalie Lexi Baker. Redshirt freshman defenseman Abby Ecker will also suit up after sitting out last season.

“They’re working hard to be great teammates,” Scanlan said of the freshmen. “It’s always going to be an adjustment to come into this level. I’ve been impressed. First of all, their work ethic has been outstanding. It’s just finding their niche in how things work.”

Last season’s sizable freshmen class of nine has matured an extra year and is looking to making an even larger impact.

“Certainly they came in pretty heralded and I thought they lived up to it,” Scanlan said.

“They’ve definitely stepped up their game,” Hunt said. “Every single one of them has. They’ve all been working hard over the summer and it definitely shows. I think they’ll make a pretty big difference this year for us.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Forward Clair DeGeorge posted 23 points (7g-16a) to lead the team’s freshmen last year, and attracted the attention of USA Hockey as a result. The native of Anchorage, Alaska, competed with the U.S. Under-22 Women’s Select Team in a series against Canada last month in Calgary before heading to Maine to participate in the 2018 U.S. Women’s National Team Evaluation Camp.

“It’s always a good experience, and it’s fun to go out and play with some of the top girls in the country,” DeGeorge said. “I know I learned a lot there, so hopefully I can bring a bunch of it back to the Beavers.”

Along with DeGeorge, the now-sophomores have come a long way in the last 12 months. DeGeorge and defenseman Mak Langei each made the WCHA All-Rookie Team, and the former was also a All-WCHA Third Team selection.

After going 16-19-3 last season and helping the Beavers advance to their first WCHA Final Faceoff since 2015, DeGeorge and her class may have what it takes to push BSU even farther in 2018-19.

“You have to think a lot faster, which makes the game faster,” DeGeorge said on jumping to the collegiate level. “So it’s nice being able to play into that for a year, and it should obviously be a lot easier for myself and the rest of the sophomores this year to get into the game.”

3741357+101517.S.BP_.BSUWHKY WEB Melissa Hunt.jpg
BSU junior Melissa Hunt (5) reaches for the puck in the first period of the game against the University of Minnesota on Saturday at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

Related Topics: BEMIDJI STATE UNIVERSITY
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 sports@bemidjipioneer.com.
What To Read Next
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
Isaac Severts laid in the game-winning bucket with 1.6 seconds left to lift Bemidji over West Fargo on Thursday night. The Lumberjacks erased a nine-point deficit in the final two minutes.
The Tuesday, Jan. 31, game between Sioux Falls Lincoln and Watertown was forced to move after junior JT Rock broke the rim with a powerful two-handed dunk. Rock is committed to play at Iowa State.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.