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Women's College Hockey: BSU, SCSU hope game in Brainerd Tuesday, Nov. 20, will be classic

St. Cloud State Huskies freshman defender Olivia Hanson (right) carries the puck against Minnesota-Duluth's Monique Aanenson this season. Maddie MacFarlane / St. Cloud State University Photo

A celebratory atmosphere will accompany the U.S. Hockey Hall Of Fame Faceoff Classic Tuesday, Nov. 20, at Essentia Health Sports Center in Brainerd.

Before the game, which pits the Bemidji State University Beavers against the St. Cloud State University Huskies, Pastor Bob Evans of the Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen in Brainerd will drop the ceremonial first puck. Game proceeds will go to Sharing Bread, an organization helping families in need by serving hot meals seven days a week. Following the contest, 1980 gold medal U.S. Olympian Buzz Schneider will present the Faceoff Classic trophy to the winning team.

Along with bringing women's NCAA Division I hockey to an outstate community, and raising funds for charity, the game creates awareness for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum in Eveleth. Additional game-day activities will include youth games between periods and player autographs.

SCSU head coach Eric Rud said lakes area fans can look forward to seeing a fast-paced, up-tempo game.

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U.S. Hockey Hall Of Fame Faceoff Classic

  • Who: Bemidji State University Beavers (2-11-1) vs. St. Cloud State University Huskies (4-11-1)
  • Where: Essentia Health Sports Center, Brainerd
  • When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20
  • Tickets: General admission, $10 for adults, $5 for students
  • Online tickets:

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"Both teams don't sit back and play defense," Rud said. "Both teams get out and play. They're aggressive, they forecheck.

"If (fans) haven't been to see us, or up to Bemidji to watch women's college hockey, I think they will be really impressed with the skill level. If you saw (women's hockey) 15-20 years ago, that was (a different) game. That was the start. Women's college hockey has really come a long way. It's really fun to watch live. I think fans are going to have a great show."

BSU coach Jim Scanlan concurs.

"We play in the WCHA, the very best league in Division I women's hockey," he said. "Fans can expect to see a very high level of hockey from both teams."

The Huskies enter the game, which does not count in the WCHA standings, 4-11-1 overall. SCUS lost 4-3 and 7-2 to Minnesota last weekend. Rud said for the most part he has been happy with the Huskies' start since they have a young team.

"(Nov. 9-10) I think we played our worst at Lindenwood (Mo.). That was not the way we wanted to play," he said of a 2-2 tie and 2-1 defeat. "The weekend before we lost two tight ones at Ohio State, 3-2 and 3-2. We beat Duluth (3-2) the weekend before and they're the fifth-ranked team in the country. Everything else has been close.

"We really like where we're at as a team."

Rud said among the Huskies to watch are Julia Tylke, Laura Kluge, Jenniina Nylund and goaltenders Emma Polusny and Janine Alder.

Tylke, who's from Delafield, Wis., leads the Huskies in scoring with six goals and 15 points, Kluge has four assists in nine games and Nylund four goals and 13 points.

"(Tylke has) been one of our leading scorers all three years she's been here," Rud said. "Now she's a senior and she's leading us again. She's a very dynamic offensive player."

As a freshman, Kluge led SCSU in scoring.

"She will be back for the first time hopefully in that game," Rud said. "She's been hurt for a while now and that hurts our offensive production. She's from Germany and she can absolutely fly. She's very dynamic."

Nylund is a freshman from Pietarsaari, Finland.

"She just got back from playing with the Finnish national team at the Four Nations Tournament," Rud said.

Rud is uncertain who will start in net. Alder is from Zurich, Switzerland. Polusny played high school hockey at Mound-Westonka. Alder sports a 2.51 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. Polusny's GAA is 3.70 and her save percentage is .915.

"Alder played on the Swiss Olympic team last year," Rud said. "Her numbers are very good. Polusny just got back from the U.S. National Team. She's hoping to be in the hunt for the next Olympics."

BSU (2-11-1) is led in scoring by Clair DeGeorge (Shattuck St. Mary's High School) with four goals and six points. Emily Bergland (Thief River Falls) also has six points (2 goals, 4 assists). Paige Beebe (Blaine), Abby Halluska (Buffalo) and Briana Jorde (Thief River Falls) have contributed five points apiece.

Goaltenders are Kerigan Dowhy (The Pas, Manitoba) and Lauren Bench (Burnsville High School). Dowhy has a 3.36 GAA and .897 save percentage, Bench a 3.17 GAA and .883 save percentage.

Last weekend the Beavers were swept by Wisconsin 5-0 and 3-0.