2011-12 Women's Hockey Media Guide now online
Monday, September 19, 2011
2011-12 Women's Hockey Media Guide now online
The Bemidji State University women’s hockey team is coming off a historic season in 2010-11. The Beavers accomplished firsts last season including beating a No. 1 team for the first time in program history, recording the program’s first-ever win over University of Minnesota Duluth and snapping a 17-game losing streak to University of Minnesota on its way to a 14-17-4 (11-13-4-2 WCHA) mark and a fifth-place WCHA finish.

Bemidji State will look to build off its historic season heading into 2011-12 despite the loss of seniors Annie Bauerfeld, Erin Cody and Erin Johnson. Cody and Bauerfeld both ended their careers as Top 10 scorers in the BSU record books.

With the loss of much of its scoring, BSU will turn to a strong defensive core in All-WCHA goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova (Sr., Bratislava, Slovakia) along with seniors Kimberly Lieder (D, Eagan, Minn.), Montana Vichorek (D, Moose Lake, Minn.) and Marlee Wheelhouse (D, Crookston, Minn.) and sophomore Erika Wheelhouse (D, Crookston, Minn.). Tomcikova posted a 1.84 goals against average and 692 saves last season. The senior is on the verge of capturing career records in both wins and saves.

On the offensive side, the Beavers will need strong seasons from Emily Erickson (Jr., F, Coleraine, Minn.) and Sadie Lundquist (Jr., F, Cloquet, Minn.). They will also turn to several other returnees and newcomers to step up as they look to fill the void of their trio of departed seniors.

Bemidji State will have to replace nearly 40 percent of its scoring with the loss of Bauerfeld, All-WCHA selection Cody and Johnson.

“We have some big shoes to fill scoring-wise with those three graduating,” said head coach Steve Sertich. “Sadie and Emily both had good years last year and we are expecting good things from them this year.”

The pair was the second and third-leading scorers for the Beavers behind Cody last season. Lundquist had a breakthrough sophomore year scoring eight goals and tallying 14 assists while Erickson had 16 goals and 11 assists and led the team with six power-play scores.

Other key contributors last season were senior Lauren Williams (Eagan, Minn.), juniors Abby Williams (Alexandria, Minn.) and Mackenzie Thurston (Ottawa, Ontario) and sophomore Tess Dusik (Oak Bluff, Manitoba). Lauren tallied five points last season (3g-2a). Abby had two goals in her first season playing for the Beavers after sitting out 2009-10 after transferring from Minnesota State University. Thurston had two assists during her sophomore season.

“I believe Mackenzie is ready to take her game to the next level,” Sertich said. “Offensively I think she has some confidence coming into the season. We are also looking for some scoring out of Tess, Abby and Lauren.”

Also returning to the fray are juniors Molly Arola (Walker, Minn.) and Jamie Hatheway (Trenton, Ontario) and sophomore Emily McKnight (Carman, Manitoba). Arola scored her lone goal of the year on a power-play at University of Minnesota Duluth. Both Hatheway and McKnight contributed last season but neither player scored.

The Beavers add several newcomers for the 2011-12 season at the forward position. Joining the program are Maine transfer Kristi King (So., Stillwater, Minn.) along with freshmen Alex Citrowske (Prior Lake, Minn.), Kristin Huber (Kelwona, British Columbia), Rachael Kelly (Rosemount, Minn.), Natasha Kostenko (Fannystelle, Manitoba) and Whitney Wivoda (Fairbanks, Alaska), King had two goals and one assist for the Black Bears during her freshman campaign.

Bemidji State will be anchored by a defensive unit that returns every member from a group that set the school record for fewest goals allowed (88) last season.

Anchoring the blue-line for the Beavers will be seniors Lieder, Marlee Wheelhouse and Vichorek and junior Erika Wheelhouse. Vichorek led all BSU defensemen in scoring last season with 16 points (2g-14a). The Wheelhouse sisters also had strong campaigns in 2010-11. Marlee had 10 points (2g-8a) while sister Erika postedeight points (1g-7 a). Lieder added four points (1g-3a), as a junior.

“Defensively we have a nucleus of Montana, the Wheelhouse sisters and Kim who are returners who played a lot last season,” Sertich said.

Also returning to the blue-line are sophomores Allie Duellman (Maplewood, Minn.), Alex Ehlert (Portage, Wis.) and Danielle Williams (Waconia, Minn.). Duellman and Williams both had two points last season (1g-1a) while Ehlert tallied one assist.

Joining the ranks of the defensive corps are freshmen Kayleigh Chapman (Virden, Manitoba) and Tegan Rose (Gibbons, Alberta).

“Hopefully some of the younger players can raise their game to another level and provide some support to the upperclassmen.,” Sertich said.

Goaltending for Bemidji State continues to be one of the team’s strongest areas as they head into the 2011-12 season.

All-WCHA second team selection Tomcikova anchors the position for the Beavers heading into her senior season. Tomcikova already holds school records in goals against average and winning percentage. She will be chasing the program’s records for career wins and saves during her senior campaign. Her goals against average of 1.84 was good for the school record for lowest goals against average in a season. Tomcikova also set season records for most wins (13) and most shutouts (six) during her junior season.

Joining Tomcikova in the crease is Alana McElhinney (Sr., Calgary, Alberta). McElhinney started eight games last year including a win over No. 1 Mercyhurst. She grabbed 235 saves last season.

The pair of BSU goaltenders combined to set a school record with the fewest goals allowed (88) in one season.

“We have veteran goaltending with both Zuzana and Alana returning,” Sertich said. “Both players have played in the league and played against good teams. We look forward to having both of them back for their senior seasons.

Jessica Havel
(Jr., Grand Rapids, Minn.) also returns at goaltender for the Beavers.

The Schedule
The 2011-12 slate features 16 games at Sanford Center including 14 contests within the WCHA, which remains the nation’s premier women’s hockey conference having accounted for every NCAA Division I women’s hockey championship in the sport’s 11-year NCAA history.

“I always say it is a curse and a blessing to play in the WHCA,” Sertich said. “We know every weekend is going to be a challenge no matter who you are playing or where you are playing. The entire league is extremely competitive and I’m sure this year will be a battle just like every other year.”

The 35-game regular-season slate will hit the ice Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 as the Beavers welcome Providence College to Bemidji for the first time to begin their second season at Sanford Center.

“Providence is a perennial powerhouse out east,” Sertich said. “They have a great goaltender in Genevieve Lacasse and have done well in recent years. I expect them to be a very good team even at the beginning of the year when they come to Bemidji.”

The Beavers open their conference schedule Oct. 7 and 8 in Columbus, Ohio against the Buckeyes of Ohio State University. Ohio State is coming off a 14-19-3 mark last season and a sixth place finish in the final WCHA standings.

Oct. 14 and 15 BSU heads to the Pine Tree State to face the University of Maine for the first time since 2006. The Black Bears are coming off a 12-17-5 mark on the 2010-11 season.

“Maria Lewis, who used to be an assistant coach at the University of North Dakota, did a nice job there in her first season,” Sertich said. “It is going to be a long trip out to Maine. It will be interesting to see how our team responds to that road trip.”

BSU’s next conference tussle marks the WCHA home-opener for the Beavers as they welcome St. Cloud State University Oct. 21 and 22. The contests will both commence with 2:07 p.m. puck drops. The Huskies are coming off a 1-33-1 record and a last place finish in the WCHA.

BSU remains at home the next weekend as it welcomes the University of Minnesota to the First City on the Mississippi Oct. 28 and 29. Both games are scheduled for 7:07 p.m. starts at Sanford Center. The Golden Gophers went 26-10-2 during the 2010-11 season finishing in a tie for second place in the conference. Minnesota lost in the regionals of the NCAA tournament to Boston College, 4-1.

The Beavers will hit the road for a five-game swing beginning Nov. 4 and 5 in Mankato, Minn. against Minnesota State University. The Mavericks went 8-25-3 in Eric Means’ second season at the helm finishing in seventh place in the WCHA standings.

BSU’s road trip continues Nov. 10 as it heads to Eveleth, Minn. for the second-consecutive season for a neutral site battle with Lindenwood University. The Lions enter Division I play in their first year of a two-year candidacy period before being granted full Division I membership.

The Beavers wrap up their five-game road trip against the University of Minnesota Duluth squad Nov. 18 and 19 at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn. This will be UMD’s first full season at their new arena. Both games are set to commence at 3:07 p.m. The five-time national champion Bulldogs are coming off a 22-9-3 mark last season and a tie for second place in the WCHA standings. UMD lost to eventual national champion University of Wisconsin in the regionals of the NCAA tournament, 2-1.

BSU returns home for the first time in nearly a month Nov. 25 and 26 to host North Dakota. The first game will count as a home game for Bemidji State but will be played on neutral ice in Crookston, Minn. The Nov. 26 match will be played at Sanford Center. Both games are slated for 7:07 p.m. starts. UND went 20-13-3 last season guided by Minnesota transfer’s Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux-Kolls.

The Beavers will wrap up the 2011 portion of their WCHA schedule against defending national champion Wisconsin Nov. 9 and 10 at Sanford Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:07 p.m. for both contests. The Badgers went 37-2-2 during the 2010-11 season in order to earn their fourth national title.

Bemidji State will play its final games of 2011 Dec. 30 and 31 as it wraps up its nonconference slate versus Robert Morris in Pittsburgh, Pa. Friday’s game will commence at 1 p.m. and Saturday’s game is set for a 5 p.m. puck drop. The Colonials went 6-21-7 last season. BSU and Robert Morris are looking to play at least one of the games at CONSOL Energy Center, the home of the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Bemidji State and Robert Morris last met in 2009.

“Robert Morris is going through a coaching change this season but they have a lot of good players returning,” Sertich said. “We are looking forward to going back out to Pittsburgh. We were there a couple of years ago and hopefully we can get at least one of those games where the Pittsburgh Penguins play.”

BSU will open 2012 as Minnesota State comes to Sanford Center Jan. 6 and 7. Both games are scheduled to start at 7:07 p.m. The Beavers will remain at home the next weekend as Ohio State comes to Bemidji Jan. 13 and 14. Those games are also slated for 7:07 p.m. puck drops.

The Beavers will face another long road trip over the next three weekends as it heads to Minnesota (Jan. 20 and 21), Wisconsin (Jan. 27 and 28) and North Dakota (Feb. 3 and 4). BSU will return for its final home games of the season Feb. 10 and 11 versus Minnesota Duluth. Both games will begin at 2:07 p.m. Bemidji State will wrap up the regular season Feb. 17 and 18 on the road against St. Cloud State.

The first round of the WCHA Playoffs will again be played on campus sites from Feb. 24-26. First-round winners will advance to the WCHA Final Face-off at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn. March 2 and 3.

The Beavers will play one exhibition game in 2011-12 as the Thunder Bay Queens will visit Bemidji Sept. 23. The exhibition contest is slated for 7:07 p.m.