Minnesota will defend unbeaten record at Ridder

The Gophers are 6-0-1 on home ice so far this season and have a chance to make it 8-0-1.

by Nick Heronimus

The Minnesota women’s hockey team has said all year that they take each team they play seriously and this weekend will be no different against Bemidji State.

The Gophers will battle the Beavers on Friday at 6 p.m. and then again Saturday at 3 p.m. at Ridder Arena.

Bemidji State (1-10-3, 0-8-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) surprised many last weekend by earning a tie against Wisconsin. In that game the story for the Beavers was senior goaltender Emily Brookshaw.

Brookshaw stopped 50 shots and received Defensive Player of the Week honors in the WCHA for her efforts. Her 50 saves spanned over an entire game as well as an overtime period.

She also now holds the all-time record for saves in Bemidji State school history at 2,405.

The game was the Beavers first ever shutout of the Badgers and it snapped a 20 game losing streak they had against Wisconsin.

Brookshaw’s performance grabbed the attention of many including Gophers’ head coach Brad Frost.

“When you put an athletic hockey player in the net with all the equipment on, they can win games for you and that is what she did,” Frost said.

Minnesota (9-4-1, 7-4-1 WCHA) has struggled to defend their home ice in recent history against Bemidji State. In the last two regular season meetings the two teams have split the series at Ridder Arena.

So far this season, Minnesota has not been defeated on their home ice as they hold a 6-0-1 record.

A major strength of the Bemidji State squad is their work ethic on the ice, according to the Gophers.

“They are always a hard working team and that’s what they are this year,” senior forward Anya Miller said.

Assistant coach Laura Slominski labeled the Beaver squad as “scrappy.”

“Anytime you play a team that works like that it is hard to play a clean game and get everything you want accomplished,” Slominski said.

As hard as Bemidji State might be working they are not seeing the results on the scoreboard as they have struggled to find a way to light the lamp.

Through 10 games in the WCHA season they have scored just six goals. The lack of offensive power from Bemidji State has lead to them being shutout in a league high six conference games.

Much of their struggles have been due to the graduation of their main goal scorers from last year, Frost said.

Minnesota will use the example of Bemidji State’s last performance, however, as motivation not to take this series lightly.

“Bemidji State is not a team we have ever taken lightly, nor will we this year,” Miller said.