WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Bemidji State can’t close out wild senior weekend with sweep
The Bemidji State women’s hockey team lingered on the ice long after its final home game of the season against No. 2 Ohio State.
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State women’s hockey team lingered on the ice long after its final home game of the season against No. 2 Ohio State. The ceremony honoring the Beavers’ fourth-year seniors had ended, but no one wanted to leave.
One day after a thrilling 3-2 win over the Buckeyes, BSU struggled on Saturday, losing 8-1. But the focus afterward was on the end of an era for the Beavers’ seniors as they celebrated Senior Day.
“It's always an emotional game,” Bemidji State head coach Jim Scanlan said. “For the players, it's the last time they get to experience a game day here at the Sanford Center and everything that goes into it. The reality sets in that this is the last time that they're going to be able to do it.”
The ability of Bemidji State’s fifth-years to return this season meant an unprecedented dual recognition – the fifth-years on Friday and the fourth-years on Saturday. It’s a reality that could become normal in the years to come.
Perhaps no one is a better exemplar than fourth-year Graysen Myers, who had the assist on the Beavers’ lone score. She awaits a decision from medical school and, depending on the verdict, could return for a fifth year. But she made sure to make the most of Saturday, just in case.
“It was awesome,” Myers said. “This whole weekend, I've just been trying to take it all in. Sitting on the bench in the last three minutes, I started to kind of choke up and just looked around the rink and tried to take as much of it in as I could.”
Ohio State (23-6, 19-6 WCHA) took control of the game in the first period, ramming in four goals within an 11-minute span. Sophie Jaques commenced it at 6:53, with Riley Brengman dropping one in 35 seconds later. Jenn Gardiner added the third at 14:10 on the power play, and Clair DeGeorge capped it at 17:27.
BSU (11-16-3, 8-16-2 WCHA) responded with a goal by Reece Hunt at 17:55 in the second period off a slick right-to-left pass from Myers. But the Buckeyes were far from finished scoring themselves, pouring in four more scores in the third period.
The contest served as a coda of sorts to two years’ worth of COVID-19 protocols, canceled games and fighting through adversity on and off the ice. All these challenges have made the college hockey experience a unique one for both the Beavers’ fifth-year seniors and Myers’ fourth-year class.
“It's been really chaotic, actually,” Myers said. “Just trying to deal with COVID and school and hockey and all of it, it's chaos. But I'm really happy that the four (fifth-years) decided to come back, because they were a really big impact on our team and I'm great friends with all of them. And so just getting to experience another year with them was really special.”
Only the home season has ended – Bemidji State will finalize its regular-season record next weekend in Mankato against Minnesota State. And after BSU’s split with Ohio State, the Beavers trail the fifth-place Mavericks by just one point in the WCHA standings.
Bemidji State faces MSU at 3:01 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18, and 2:01 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19, in Mankato.
Ohio State 8, Bemidji State 1
OSU 4 0 4 -- 8
BSU 0 1 0 -- 1
First period -- 1, OSU GOAL, Jaques (Saekkinen), 6:53; 2, OSU GOAL, Brengman (unassisted), 7:28; 3, OSU GOAL, Gardiner (Bizal, Jaques), 14:10, PP; 4, OSU GOAL, DeGeorge (Levis, Schepers), 17:27.
Second period -- 5, BSU GOAL, Hunt (Myers), 17:55.
Third period -- 6, OSU GOAL, Levis (DeGeorge), 5:33; 7, OSU GOAL, Buglioni (Gardiner, Brengman), 9:30; 8, OSU GOAL, Wiebe (Parent, Bizal), 10:44; 9, OSU GOAL, Schepers (Levis, DeGeorge), 11:53.
Saves -- Dowhy (BSU) 48; Kirk (OSU) 14.