Beaver Fever Friday – Alyssa Watkins – Womens Hockey

Beavers return to Sanford Center to face second-ranked Badgers

BSU Women’s Hockey faces second consecutive top-two ranked opponent

The Bemidji State University Women’s Hockey team returns to Sanford Center this weekend and once again faces a highly ranked opponent in No. 2 University of Wisconsin.

The Beavers (4-22-2, 3-18-1 WCHA) play their 10th series of the season against a nationally ranked opponent in the No. 2 Badgers (24-4-0, 18-4-0 WCHA) this weekend. The Western Collegiate Hockey Association series begins Friday night (Feb. 9) at 6:01 p.m., with game two following Saturday at 3:01 p.m.

Each game will be streamed online at B1G+ with play-by-play commentary provided by Rob Aitken of the Beaver Radio Network. The Beaver Radio Network broadcast can also be found on your radio dial at 94.3FM or online at

A week after facing the nation’s top-ranked team in Ohio State University, the Beavers return home to face the second-ranked team in Wisconsin.

10 of the Beavers’ 15 series so far this season have been against nationally ranked opponents with five-of-eight WCHA teams ranked in the latest USAHockey/The Rink Live Top-15 poll.

Just three series remain in the 2023-24 regular season with the WCHA Quarterfinals set to begin on March 1-3 at campus sites.

Two of the Beavers’ remaining three series will be against nationally ranked opponents with the third receiving votes.

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 University of St. Thomas.

Bemidji State returns home after a difficult weekend on the road at No. 1 Ohio State.

The Beavers fell in both games against the Buckeyes and were out-scored 20-2 in the series.

Senior Calli Forsberg scored her first goal of the season in game one with freshman Shelby Sandberg earning her first collegiate point on the play with an assist.

Senior Kayla Santl scored her sixth goal of the season in game two, third most on the team.

Bemidji State’s special teams shined during the series with its power play going 1-for-5 in the series and its penalty kill holding the Buckeyes scoreless on their five chances.

It was the first time this season that the Beavers scored a power-play goal and held their opponent scoreless on the power play in a series.

Bemidji State last held an opponent off the scoresheet while on the power play during a series on Dec. 8-9 at St. Thomas (5-5).

Bemidji State will see the Badgers for their second meeting of the regular season this weekend after previously meeting Oct. 20-21 in Madison.

The then ranked No. 1 Badgers secured six league points against the Beavers winning by scores of 4-0 and 8-1.

Freshman Hailey Armstrong scored the lone goal for BSU in the series, her fifth collegiate goal.

Bemidji State and Wisconsin will meet for the 103rd and 104th meetings in their all-time series histories dating back to the second season of BSU Women’s Hockey. 1999-00.

Wisconsin dominates the all-time series with a 90-7-5 record and are on a 14-game unbeaten streak (13-0-1) against BSU.

Bemidji State’s last win against the Badgers was Jan. 11, 2020 at Sanford Center.

The Beavers are 2-37-3 when hosting the Badgers.

Head coach Jim Scanlan is 3-35-2 in his 10 seasons coaching against the Badgers.

Senior Gabbie Smith, sophomore Mya Headrick and Armstrong are the lone active Beavers to score against Wisconsin but senior captain Taylor Nelson leads the team with three career points versus UW (3a).

All three Beaver netminders have seen action against the Badgers with junior Abbie Armstrong leading the group with 117:18 minutes played. She is 0-1-0 with a 6.14 GAA and .890 save percentage when facing UW.

Thompson had a career-effort the last time she faced Wisconsin recording a career-high 60 saves on Oct. 21, the fourth-most saves in program history.

Bemidji State is led by Taylor Nelson who has posted 12 points off a career-high seven goals and five assists. She is one point away from tying a career-high of 13 set during the 2021-22 season.

She is followed by senior Gabbie Smith who has a career-high 11 points off a goal and 10 assists. She leads the team in assists and faceoff wins with 267.

Armstrong is third on the team with 10 points but leads the Beavers with nine goals, the most by a BSU freshman since Tara Hiscock also scored nine goals in the 2004-05 season.

The three have combined to score 17 of the team’s 36 goals (.472).

The Beavers’ second line of Kayla Santl, Shelby Breiland and Alyssa Watkins has found its scoring touch of as of late and has scored five of the last eight Beaver goals.

Santl drives the line scoring a career-high eight points off six goals and two assists Breiland (1g-4a) and Watkins (2g-1a) follow with five and three points, respectively.

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 504 blocked shots, led by national leader Riley Reeves (77). Lund follows with 71 blocked shots and is third in the country while Deering has totaled 56 to tie for ninth.

2023-24 is the 26th season of Bemidji State Women’s Hockey. In 26 seasons, the Beavers are 274-534-79 (.356).