The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team swept the Bemidji State Beavers in two games at the Ralph last Friday and Saturday.
This weekend, the UND women’s hockey team will be looking to do the same thing to the Beavers in a home-and-home series. It won’t be an easy series for the Fighting Hawks, who got swept by the Wisconsin Badgers at home last weekend.
The Beavers are coached by Jim Scanlan who returned to his alma mater three seasons ago after spending many years as the Athletic Director of East Grand Forks High School. Scanlan has resurrected the women’s program since taking over the head job. His teams have been known to play tough and physical, which won’t make it easy on the Hawks, who want to get up and down the ice and play a fast game. That won’t be easy against BSU.
Bemidji State is anchored in goal by Brittni Mowat. Mowat has a .937 save percentage, while allowing an average of 1.85 per game. Mowat has posted one shutout in seven games she has started.
The Beavers tend to take a while to get going. In their eight games, the Beavers have been outscored in the first period 5-1, but they are outscoring their opponents by eight goals in the second and third periods. Getting off to a fast start will likely be a key highlighted on Brian Idalski’s white board for this weekend.
Local high school hockey fans might recognize some of the names BSU will tput on the ice this weekend, because there are a lot of local players who don the Beaver colors this season.
The Beavers have six players from three towns around the Grand Forks area. East Grand Forks, Thief River Falls and Bemidji are all represented on BSU’s roster.
The leading scorer for the Beavers is sophomore Emily Bergland from Thief River Falls. Emily has nine points in eight games for Bemidji State, following in the footsteps of her father, Tim, who starred at the University of Minnesota in the early ‘80s, before having a solid career in the NHL.
The Hawks might find themselves in two more close games this weekend. The Beavers, who only allow about 1.62 goals per game, struggle to score offensively. The Beavers have averaged 2.12 goals per game on the season.
UND has also struggled to put the puck in the net on a consistent basis this season. It could be two low scoring affairs in both directions of Highway 2 this weekend.
One key this weekend for UND is to get off to a quick start. Bemidji State has really struggled coming out of the gates this season, being outscored 5-1 on the season. UND is good when they get an early lead, because they can keep their foot on the gas pedal and never let up, so UND would love to get off to a quick start in both games this weekend.
The games this weekend against the Beavers are set for 7:07 p.m. in the Ralph, and it’s a quick turnaround on Saturday in Bemidji. Puck drop for the series finale is set for 3:07 p.m. at the Sanford Center.
Hunter Plante is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]