Thief River Falls' Bergland off to blazing start for Bemidji State
BEMIDJI, Minn.-When Jim Scanlan coached high school hockey at East Grand Forks Senior High, he knew his team's road to the Minnesota state tournament would always have to go through Emily Bergland and Thief River Falls.Now, he doesn't have to wor...
BEMIDJI, Minn.-When Jim Scanlan coached high school hockey at East Grand Forks Senior High, he knew his team's road to the Minnesota state tournament would always have to go through Emily Bergland and Thief River Falls.
Now, he doesn't have to worry about that anymore.
Scanlan, the head coach at Bemidji State, has Bergland on his side and it is paying off big for the Beavers women's hockey team early this season.
Bergland has racked up nine points in eight games-already doubling her point total from a season ago-to lead the Beavers in scoring entering this weekend's home-and-home series against North Dakota.
The sophomore forward ranks seventh in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in points after the first month of the season and tops her team in nearly every offensive category: goals, assists, points, game-winning goals and power-play points.
"She's real hard on pucks," Scanlan said of Bergland, whose father, Tim, played in the NHL for the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning. "She's good around the net. She's pretty elusive. She's really good with the puck, has some really good moves and can protect the puck. Her line does a really good job. They always seem to get sticks in passing lanes and they create a lot of turnovers."
Bergland's emergence was big for 4-3-1 Bemidji State, which lost its top three scorers-and five of its top seven-from last season's team. But it wasn't totally unexpected.
"Looking at the roster coming in, we certainly had her penciled in as somebody who would be a top-two line player," Scanlan said. "She's extremely good in our own end. She's good on faceoffs. She's good penalty killing. She's on the power play. She's definitely one of our go-to players."
Offense may be a challenge for both teams during this weekend's series (7:07 tonight in Ralph Engelstad Arena, 3:07 p.m. Saturday in Bemidji's Sanford Center).
A year ago, the Beavers and Fighting Hawks met four times. The scores of the games: 0-0, 1-0, 1-0 and 2-1.
Although both teams lost large senior classes, UND coach Brian Idalski doesn't think the tenor of the game will change.
"Watching some film, they haven't changed their stripes," Idalski said. "You're going to hear the mantra. You heard the mantra when their men's team was here. Tough to play against. Gritty. Blocked shots. Opportunistic on the other end. I haven't seen anything that would say otherwise."