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College women's hockey playoff preview: Bemidji State at Minnesota Duluth

No. 5 Bemidji State (14-17-3) at No. 4 UMD (14-14-4) What: WCHA first-round playoff series When: 2:07 p.m. Friday,Saturday, Sunday (if necessary) Where: Amsoil Arena Series: UMD leads 68-15-4 Coaches: Jim Scanlan, in his fourth season at Bemidji ...

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No. 5 Bemidji State (14-17-3) at No. 4 UMD (14-14-4)

What: WCHA first-round playoff series

When: 2:07 p.m. Friday,Saturday, Sunday (if necessary)

Where: Amsoil Arena

Series: UMD leads 68-15-4

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Coaches: Jim Scanlan, in his fourth season at Bemidji State, is 69-65-10; Maura Crowell, in her third season at UMD, is 54-42-10 and 77-49-14 for her career

Internet: nchc.tv/umd

TV: None

Twitter: @UMDWHockey

Bemidji State update: The Beavers finished fifth in the WCHA during the regular season, five points back of the Bulldogs after going 4-7-1 in 2018. Bemidji State won just two of its last eight games (2-5-1) but edged the Bulldogs 3-2 during their regular-season series. The teams split their WCHA series 2-2, but the Beavers won the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game in Isanti, Minn. Junior forward Emily Bergland leads the Beavers with 10 goals, while sophomore forward Haley Mack (9 goals, 13 assists, 22 points) and freshman forward Clair DeGeorge (7-15-22) lead the team in scoring. Three of Mack's nine goals have come shorthanded. Senior defenseman Alexis Joyce (6-15-21) is tied for third among WCHA defensemen in scoring. Proctor native and former Mirage standout Reilly Fawcett, a senior forward, has one goal and eight assists in 34 games this season. Freshman Lauren Bench (2.71 goals-against average, .902 save percentage) has started 13 of the final 18 games in goal.

UMD update: The Bulldogs went 4-1-3 over their last eight games to finish fourth in the WCHA, seven points back of third-place Minnesota. UMD is hosting a first-round league playoff series for the second consecutive season and taking on the Beavers in the first round for the third time in four seasons. UMD 2-1 in overtime in Game 3 in Duluth in 2015 to end the Shannon Miller era. The following season, Crowell's first at UMD, the Bulldogs returned the favor by sweeping the Beavers in Bemidji. The Beavers' two wins in 2015 are their only wins against UMD in 10 postseason contests. At 23.9 percent, UMD enters the postseason with the fifth-best power play in the country and top power play in the WCHA. The last time UMD had a power play this strong was in 2002-03 when it was 28.9 percent. The Bulldogs also average a nation-low 5.2 penalty minutes per game. Freshman forward Naomi Rogge continues to lead UMD in scoring with 23 points and her team-leading 15 goals are the most by a UMD freshman since Jenna McParland scored 21 in 2011-12. The Bulldogs are winless (0-9-2) when they trail after the first period this season.

Quote: "(The Beavers) are a different team than maybe what you saw in those first couple years. They have kids who can put the puck in the net and young goaltending versus (Brittni) Mowat, who was their goaltender for a while there. So a little younger in net, more prolific in the offensive realm, but still very physical. We know what to expect. We've seen them a lot." - Crowell

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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