HOCKEY TIME: Women split opening series; men’s national rankings

WOMEN WIN, TIE AT LINDENWOOD

The NHL season began Tuesday, but the college hockey season actually started earlier: The Bemidji State women played a series Friday and Saturday at Lindenwood University in Missouri.

The Beavers won the first game of the series 3-2 before tying the second game of the series 1-1.

Freshman goaltender Brittni Mowat stepped in for injured senior goalie Jessica Havel and — fighting off an injury of her own — played well enough to earn WCHA Rookie of the Week honors. Mowat stopped 45 of 48 shots on goal for a .938 save percentage to help the Beavers in the series.

The good series against Lindenwood puts the Beavers at 1-0-1 going into their first (early) off weekend of the season.

I did a preview of the women’s team last week which you can read here. They host Robert Morris in another nonconference series Oct. 11 and 12. at the Sanford Center.

MEN’S NATIONAL RANKINGS

The men’s seasons won’t start for another week but the rankings are already out.

BSU didn’t make it into the preseason national rankings, but a handful of WCHA teams did.

Here’s the U.S. College Hockey Online poll, with WCHA teams in bold:

1. UMass-Lowell (19 first-place votes), 844 points
2. Miami (14), 837
3. Wisconsin (2), 740
4. Boston College, 728
5. Minnesota (1), 660
6. Yale (8), 644
7. North Dakota, 636
8. Notre Dame, 575
9. St. Cloud state, 513
10. Quinnipiac, 419
11. t-Michigan, 417
11. t-Minnesota State, 417
13. New Hampshire, 354
14. Providence, 271
15. Rensselaer, 266
16. Union, 258
17. Denver, 241
18. Western Michigan, 117
19. Boston University, 113
20. Niagara, 94
Others receiving votes: Cornell 80, Ferris State 67, Harvard 18, Minnesota Duluth 18, Nebraska Omaha 16, Air Force 14, Michigan Tech 14, Canisius 12, Colorado College 11, Ohio State 11, Alaska 10, Mercyhurst 10, Michigan State 6, Rochester Institute of Technology 5, Bowling Green 4, Brown 4, Dartmouth 2, Merrimack 2, Robert Morris 2.

Here’s the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll:

1. UMass Lowell (20 first-place votes), 484 points
2. Miami (9), 444
3. Wisconsin (1), 364
4. Boston College, 359
5. Minnesota 347
6. North Dakota 300
7. Notre Dame, 285
8. Yale (4), 269(4)
9. St. Cloud State, 2304
10. Michigan, 16
11. Quinnipiac, 135
12. Union, 124
13. New Hampshire, 116
14. Minnesota State, 110
15. Providence College, 103
Others receiving votes: Rensselaer 80, Denver 74, Cornell 32, Western Michigan 28, Niagara 12, Merrimack 8, Boston University 4, Ferris State 4, Michigan Tech 1

Although the WCHA has just one ranked team in the polls (and a few receiving votes), it’s pretty safe to say that Bemidji State has the most difficult schedule of anyone in the WCHA (and, one might argue, the most difficult schedule in the West, at the very least).

Every single one of BSU’s nonconference opponents this year (St. Cloud, Minnesota, Miami, North Dakota) are ranked in the top ten in both polls. So this should be fun….

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