Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Conference matchup between Bemidji State and Ohio State the toughest game of 2013

In a Western Collegiate Hockey Association conference matchup featuring the Bemidji State Beavers and Ohio State Buckeyes, its ending is one that no one could have foreseen. Setting a conference and collegiate hockey record for penalty minutes in a game (men and women) with 303, the intensity, passion and grit displayed on the ice resulted in an anomaly for women’s hockey play.

During regulation play, the Beavers were called for four penalties (two for tripping, one for roughing and checking), while the Buckeyes had an elbowing call in the first and a tripping call along with hooking in the third period. Once the buzzer signaled to end the game, a bench-clearing brawl ensued, with the consequence being 18 fighting majors, 19 game misconducts. This was followed by a total of 19 disqualifications for the following day’s game.


The postgame fight resulted in 287 penalty minutes with Ohio State receiving 24 penalties for 158 minutes Bemidji State was given 23 penalties for 145 minutes. The disqualified players were as follows:

Ohio State                                                        Bemidji State
• Chelsea Knapp                                             • Stephanie Anderson
• Julia McKinnon                                             • Ivana Bilic
• Madison Marcotte                                         • Kayleigh Chapman
• Melani Moylan                                               • Alex Citrowske
• Alexa Ranahan                                             • Alex Ehlert
• Kari Schmitt                                                  • Rachael Kelly          
• Sara Schmitt                                                 • Lauren Miller
• Hayley Studler                                              • Kaitlyn Tougas
• Kayla Sullivan                                               • Danielle Williams
• Annie Svedin

Previously, the record had been 268 penalty minutes in a tussle between Boston University and Maine during a January 24, 2004 men’s hockey game. Of note, the previous women’s hockey record was 83 penalty minutes, set on December 14, 2003 between rivals Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth. With regards to the Buckeyes program, the men’s hockey record for most penalty minutes in one game is 150 (set in 1981), while the previous high in women’s hockey was 57 (set in 2003).

While the WCHA is the most dominant conference in NCAA women’s hockey, the game’s ending is one that certainly brought a degree of embarrassment to the conference.  To be fair, this is not standard in women’s hockey. It is a rare instance where emotions boiled over.
Regarding the game itself, the Beavers prevailed by a 3-2 tally. After a scoreless first period in which the Beavers outshot the host Buckeyes by an 11-6 margin, it was Buckeyes skater Kayla Sullivan would open the scoring in the second period with her first goal of the season.

The Beavers would reply with three unanswered goals as Tess Dusik opened the scoring for the Beavers with a short-handed goal at 8:20. Ohio State had enjoyed a 5-on-3 power play when Dusik bounced a rebound off Chelsea Knapp’s pads for the goal. Lauren Miller was called for roughing and then Alex Ehlert was sent to the penalty box for checking.

The 12:04 mark of the second saw a goal come off the stick of Stephanie Anderson, providing the Beavers with their first lead of the game. Special teams would also factor in the final goal of the period for the Beavers. As Sara Schmitt served a tripping call for the Buckeyes, Hanna Moher buried the puck past Chelsea Knapp for the 3-1 lead.


In the final frame, the Buckeyes were applying offensive pressure. Outshooting the Beavers by an overwhelming 15-4 margin, grit and physicality was part of the period. While Schmitt scored on Brittni Mowat at the 3:22 mark to reduce the Beavers lead, it would prove to be the Buckeyes last goal. The Beavers managed their first conference win of the season and their first road win at Ohio State since 2010, Mowat would be recognized as the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week.  

Frustrations mounted as the Buckeyes struggled to tie the game. By the end of the contest, tensions had reached their boiling point as a donnybrook for the ages ensued. 

According to Buckeyes coach Nate Handrahan, he had felt that some of the opposing players had employed chippiness throughout the game. Although he acknowledged this is a rare instance in women’s hockey, he did complement his players on showing some fight and spirit. 

Of note, Buckeyes skater Madison Marcotte was ejected for a face-masking play while Julia McKinnon received an instigation minor. In addition, McKinnon accumulated 19 penalty minutes (of which two were during regulation play), the most of any player during the infamous contest. 

With both teams sporting losing records, the fact that it was a conference match only added to the importance. As teams are jockeying for position with regards to postseason play, every conference match holds with it postseason implications.

The November 8 match began with a defensive stalemate in the first period. Buckeyes goaltender stopped 11 shots while Beavers freshman backstop Brittni Mowat logged six stops. The Beavers played a solid period with offensive pressure while Mowat helped nullify two Buckeyes power plays.

In the rematch the day after, each team only had six forwards and four competitors due to the disqualifications from the night before. Tess Dusik opened the scoring for Bemidji State as she buried the puck past senior goalie Lisa Steffes. Freshman Breanne Grant would reply for the Buckeyes, as she scored her first NCAA career goal to tie the game.


Merely 17 seconds into the second period, Allie Duellman took advantage of a power play as she provided Bemidji State with another lead. Despite their best efforts to tie the game, Brittni Mowat nullified two Buckeyes power plays while making 15 stops. With 19 Buckeyes shots in the third, Danielle Gagne would tie the game. Going into overtime, three penalties would hinder either teams chance to win the game. Fatigue and exhaustion resulted in three shots each as the game ended in a 2-2 tie.

Beavers player portraits courtesy of Bemidji State Athletics

Image of Brittni Mowat obtained from: http://beaverradionetwork.com/?p=2763

Ohio State players (clockwise from top left): Madison Marcotte, Julia McKinnon, Melani Moylan, Kayla Sullivan, Hayley Studler, Kari Schmitt, Sara Schmitt, Alexa Ranahan, Annie Svedin, Chelsea Knapp. Images courtesy of Ohio State Athletics


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