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Beaver Fever Friday – Heather Olson – @BSUBeaversWHKY

Women’s Hockey hosts No. 4/3 Minnesota for final home series

For its final home series of the regular season, the Bemidji State University women’s hockey team prepares to host No. 4/3 University of Minnesota, Feb. 7-8 for a pair of Western Collegiate Hockey Association games. The Beavers (14-13-3, 8-10-2-0 WCHA) honor their six seniors, Kiki Radke, Jacqueline Kaasa, Briana Jorde, Haley Mack, Abby Halluska and Heather Olson in part of Senior Day festivities Saturday, Feb. 8. The Beavers and Gophers (21-5-3, 13-5-2-1 WCHA) begin their two-game series Friday, Feb. 7 at 6:07 p.m., followed by Senior Day Saturday at 3:07 p.m.

The Beavers and Gophers will meet for the 95th and 96th meeting in the all-time series that dates back to Nov. 14, 1998. Minnesota has dominated the all-time series record and holds a 78-9-7 edge over the Beavers including winning the past six meetings. When playing in Bemidji, the Beavers are just 3-35-3 against the Gophers. Bemidji State’s and Minnesota’s first meeting of the season happened Nov. 15-16 where the Gophers earned a series sweep by scores of 7-1 in game one and 3-0 in game two. Junior Mak Langei scored the lone goal for the Beavers in the series while Haley Mack and Abby Halluska each earned assists. Sixth-year head coach Jim Scanlan is 5-20-1 coaching against the Gophers while 13-year head coach Brad Frost is 47-7-4 coaching against the Beavers.

Minnesota enters the weekend’s action holding second in the WCHA standings with 42 points (13-5-2-1 WCHA) and are one of three teams in Division I with 20 wins with a 21-5-3 record. The Gophers are ranked fourth in the latest USCHO.com and third in the USAToday/USA Hockey Magazine national polls and are coming off a weekend where they split their series with No. 9 University of Minnesota Duluth. Minnesota skated to a 5-0 victory in game one versus the Bulldogs but were held off the scoreboard in game two and fell 2-0. Sophomore Amy Potomak led the Gophers with four points in the series (3g-1a) while Amy Woken followed with three points (1g-2a).

Minnesota is second in the WCHA by averaging 3.72 goals per game while its defense is the best in the league and are fourth in the nation by holding opponents to just 1.62 goals per game. Minnesota’s special teams is also some of the best in the nation. Its power play ranks second in the WCHA and ninth in the nation by converting at .200 percent (15-of-75) while its penalty kill is best in the WCHA and fourth in the nation at .924 percent (73-of-79).

The Gophers are led on offense by Grace Zumwinkle and Sarah Potomak who each have totaled 33 points in 29 games played. Zumwinkle paces the team with 18 goals and has added 15 assists while Potomak has recorded 15 goals and 18 assists. They are followed closely by sophomore Taylor Heise who has 32 points off of 14 goals and 18 assists. In total, the Gophers have 12 players who have 10 or more points while five have 20 or more points. Minnesota’s blueline is led by junior Emily Brown who has 15 points off of four goals and 11 assists in 29 games while freshman Madeline Wethington follows with 13 points off of five goals and eight assists. Leading the Gophers’ netminders is senior Sydney Scobee who has posted a 20-5-3 record with a 1.59 goals against average and .934 save percentage. Those numbers are good for the top spot in the WCHA and are seventh and eighth in Division I.

Bemidji State returns home for its final home series of the regular season after going 0-1-1 in Columbus, Ohio against the No. 5 Ohio State University Buckeyes. The Beavers fell to the Buckeyes 7-2 in game one of the series but responded with a 2-2 tie in game two but fell in the shootout to earn just one point in the WCHA standings. Junior Lydia Passolt (2g-0a) and senior Kiki Radke (1g-1a) led the Beavers with two points each in the series while Radke scored the game-tying goal in Saturday’s 2-2 tie with just 17.2 seconds remaining.

The Beavers are sixth in the WCHA in scoring offense by averaging 2.00 goals per game and fifth on defense by holding opponents to 2.43 goals per game. Bemidji State’s power play is seventh in the league by converting at .127 percent (9-of-71) while its penalty kill is sixth at .762 percent (61-of-80).

Bemidji State is paced on offense by senior Haley Mack who is also 18th in the league with 21 points off of 13 goals and eight assists in 30 games this season. She is followed by junior Clair DeGeorge who has posted 18 points off of seven goals and 11 assists. Senior Kiki Radke has also posted a career-high 18 points off of six goals and 12 assists while senior Abby Halluska (6g-8a) and junior Mak Langei (2g-12a) follow with 14 points each. Langei paces the Beavers’ blueline in points and is followed by junior Tina Kampa who has 10 points off of 10 assists and leads the team and is second in the league with 67 blocked shots. Redshirt junior Lauren Bench paces the Beavers’ netminders and has posted an 11-11-2 record with a 2.28 goals against average and .916 save percentage which stand fifth and third in the WCHA, respectively.