Beavers hope to bring strong play into Columbus for series at top-ranked Buckeyes
BSU Women’s Hockey returns to the road to face No. 1 Ohio State
The Bemidji State University Women’s Hockey team returns to the road this weekend and will face the top-ranked team in country in Ohio State University.
The Beavers (4-20-2, 3-16-1 WCHA) travel to Columbus, Ohio to face the Buckeyes (22-2-0, 19-1-0 WCHA) for the second time this season. The Western Collegiate Hockey Association series begins Friday night (Feb. 2) at 5:01 p.m. CT, with game two following Saturday at 2:01 p.m. CT from OSU Ice Rink.
Bemidji State begins one of its final two road trips of the regular season this weekend by traveling to No. 1 Ohio State.
Just four series remain in the 2023-24 regular season with the WCHA Quarterfinals set to begin on March 1-3.
Three of the Beavers’ remaining four series will be against nationally ranked opponents.
Bemidji State is coming off its most successful WCHA series of the season after earning four-of-six points against University of St. Thomas last weekend at Sanford Center.
The Beavers are chasing sixth in the WCHA standings and currently sit seventh with 10 league points. They trail sixth-place Minnesota State University, Mankato by three points and hold a two-point lead over eighth-place St. Thomas.
Bemidji State earned a point in its series opener against the Tommies after falling in the shootout but bounced back with a 4-2 regulation victory in game two to cap-off a four-point weekend.
The Beavers were led by their freshman goaltender Eva Filippova in the series who denied 57-of-61 shots for a .934 save percentage and 1.94 goals against average.
She was named the league’s Rookie of the Week for her efforts and was joined by defender Makenna Deering who scored the game-tying, extra-attacker goal in game one of the series while also contributing a team-high eight shots on goal, blocked four and was a +4 rating on the ice.
Filippova earned her second WCHA weekly accolade while Deering earned her first career nod.
Junior Alyssa Watkins found her scoring touch in the series after going the previous 24 games without a goal, she scored twice in game two for her first career multi-goal game.
Bemidji State and Ohio State meet for the 101st and 102nd meetings in the all-time series this weekend in Columbus.
Ohio State dominates the all-time series with a 58-29-13 record and have won the last nine games.
The Beavers are 12-32-6 when facing the Buckeyes on the road and last won in Columbus on Feb. 8, 2019 upsetting the then No. 9 Buckeyes in a game which Beaver head coach Jim Scanlan earned his 82nd career victory to become the program’s all-time coaching wins leader.
Scanlan is 11-25-2 in his 10 seasons coaching against the Buckeyes.
BSU and Ohio State met earlier this season on Nov. 3-4 with the Buckeyes earning a series sweep by scores of 9-1 and 5-0.
Junior Kayla Santl scored the lone goal for the Beavers in that series for her second goal of the season.
The Beavers were out-shot 95-24 in that series with Filippova and Thompson each posting 41 and 40 saves, respectively.
Bemidji State blocked 57 shots as a team in the series including a season-high 30 in game one, the most in a game since Feb. 12, 2022.
Santl paces the Beavers with two career goals versus the Buckeyes.
Bemidji State is led by its top line of Taylor Nelson, Gabbie Smith and Hailey Armstrong.
The three are the top three leading scorers on the team and have combined for 17 of the team’s 34 goals (.500).
Nelson paces the team with 12 points off seven goals and five assists.
She is followed by senior Gabbie Smith who paces the team with 10 assists and has scored once for 11 points.
Freshman Hailey Armstrong paces the Beavers with nine goals this season and has added an assist for 10 points.
The Beavers’ second line of Kayla Santl, Shelby Breiland and Alyssa Watkins has come alive as of late and has scored the last three Beaver goals.
Santl has totaled seven points this season and is second on the team with five goals more than doubling her previous career-high of three points in a season.
Santl, Breiland and Watkins each pace the team with an active two-game point streak.
Senior Khloe Lund leads the Beavers’ blueline with six points off two goals and four assists, while junior Makenna Deering (1g-4a) and freshman Riley Reeves (5a) follow with five.
Bemidji State leads the nation with 442 blocked shots, led by national leader Riley Reeves (68).
She is followed by Lund who has blocked 57 shots, the fourth most in DI.
Freshman Eva Filippova has taken the reins of the Beavers’ starters crease and has started eight of the last 10 games in between the pipes.
She has been dominant in the second half of the season posting a .937 save percentage and 2.22 goals against average during the month of January.
Over her last eight starts, she is 3-4-1 with a .941 save percentage and 2.13 goals against average.
The first Russian women’s hockey player at Bemidji State, Filippova is 4-7-1 with a .919 save percentage and 2.87 goals against average in her rookie campaign.
She is ninth in the WCHA in save percentage and boasts the third-best save percentage by a freshman in Division I this season.
Her .919 save percentage currently stands as the best save percentage by a Beaver freshman goaltender to play at least 500 minutes in their first season with the green and white.
2023-24 is the 26th season of Bemidji State Women’s Hockey. In 26 seasons, the Beavers are 274-532-79 (.356).