Bemidji State at St. Cloud State
Fri., Jan. 4, 2012, 2 p.m. (CT)
Sat., Jan. 5, 2012, 2 p.m. (CT)
Location: National Hockey Center (5,371), St. Cloud, Minn.
Series History: SCSU leads 28-26-7
Last Time Out
In its last series before the winter break, Bemidji State welcomed top-ranked Minnesota to town and was swept by 5-1 and 5-0 scores. The Beavers held strong with the undefeated Gophers and the teams went scoreless through the first period of the weekend. Minnesota finally broke through 10:22 into the second and scored twice more before the end of the period. Trailing 5-0 in the third, Kristin Huber notched her second goal of the season to break UM’s shutout bid. In the second game, the Gophers pulled ahead with two late first-period goals and another 2:55 into the second. Jessica Havel kept BSU competitive, posting a career-best 35 saves, but the Beavers could not avoid being shutout for the second time in 2012-13 in a 5-0 loss.
BSU vs. St. Cloud State
The Huskies hold a 28-26-7 edge in the all-time series against BSU after an October sweep. The Beavers had previously won 10 straight games versus SCSU.
About the Huskies
After spoiling Bemidji State’s first home and first WCHA series in October, St. Cloud State lost nine consecutive conference games before topping Minnesota State Dec. 8 by a 5-2 score to move to 7-12-1 with a 3-11-0-0 league mark. SCSU is led offensively by Haylea Schmid (8g-9a) and Alex Nelson (6g-11a), who have 17 points apiece. Molli Mott has 15 points on seven goals and eight assists. Nelson also has a team-best plus/minus rating of +2. In goal, Julie Friend and Katie Fitzpatrick each have gotten 10 starts. Fitzpatrick is 4-6-0 with a 2.67 goals against average and a.924 save percentage while Friend is 3-6-1 with a 2.83 goals against average and .917 save percentage.
Good in the New Year
Traditionally, the BSU women’s hockey team has come out of the gate strong to begin new calendar years. Since 2000, the Beavers are 13-8-5 in their first series of a new year. They are 7-4-2 in their first game of January and are 6-4-2 the following day. Bemidji State kicked off 2012 with a 2-1 loss and a 4-0 win against Minnesota State swept St. Cloud State to ring in 2011. The Huskies swept BSU to begin 2004 and 2008 and the teams split in the Beavers’ first series of 2001. Each New Year’s series between Bemidji State and SCSU has been played in St. Cloud.
Though BSU struggled in the first half of the season, the team was able to win or tie half of its eight road games, going 3-4-1. The Beavers beat Providence, Wisconsin, and Minnesota State away from home and also posted a tie against the Badgers in the same series. Bemidji State is 0-10-0 at home and hasn’t won a game at the Sanford Center since it topped then-No. 9 Minnesota Duluth 2-0 Feb. 11, 2012. BSU is 17-20-4 all-time in its new arena but was 17-10-4 there prior to 2012-13.
Havel Sets Personal Mark
Senior goaltender Jessica Havel set a new career-high in saves against Minnesota Dec. 7-8. In the first game of the series against the Gophers, Havel tied her previous mark with 29 in the first game and shattered it the following night with a 35-save effort. She allowed five goals in each contest, but was afforded much offensive support—the Beavers only registered 42 combined shots on goal and beat Minnesota goaltender Noora Räty just one time.
Huber Strikes Again
Sophomore forward Kristin Huber notched her second goal of the season Dec. 7 against Minnesota. The tally was Bemidji State’s last before the break and snapped an 11-game goalless drought for the sophomore forward dating back to Oct. 19. Huber was the only Beaver to find the back of the net in both games in which she’s scored, giving BSU the edge in a 1-0 win over then-No. 9 Wisconsin Oct. 19 and breaking the Gophers’ shutout bid two games ago. Natasha Kostenko assisted on the goal against Minnesota to earn her second helper of the season. Kostenko leads the team with five goals.
The Loneliest Number
In its final series of the first half of the season, Bemidji State was only able to muster one goal against No. 1 Minnesota. It was the second time this season BSU was held to one goal in a two-game weekend series. This weekend’s opponent, St. Cloud State, topped BSU 3-1 in the Beavers’ home and WCHA opener Oct. 12 before winning 1-0 in the series finale.
Trying to Get Back in the Win Column
Entering Friday’s contest against St. Cloud, Bemidji State will not have won in 43 days, its longest drought since 2008-09. BSU’s last win came when it halted a seven-game, 35-day winless drought against Minnesota State with a 4-3 road win Nov. 23. The Beavers’ current winless streak stands at five games and its length in days is mostly due to having 27 days off following a Dec. 8 loss to top-ranked Minnesota.
Seniors Sadie Lundquist and MacKenzie Thurston have played in 118 of 118 possible college games. On BSU’s roster, only redshirt seniors Emily Erickson and Abby Williams (126 each) have played more, but both players have missed games. Nov. 18 against North Dakota, senior Erika Wheelhouse missed a game for the first time in her collegiate career after playing 111 in a row. The only other players on the team not to have missed a career game are freshmen Kaitlyn Tougas, Hanna Moher, and Megan Lushanko, who have played in all 18 games in their first year this year.
Seniors Leading the Way
Bemidji State’s senior class has led the way so far in points this season, scoring 32 of the team’s 74 points (43.2 percent). Second on the list are the freshmen, which have 19 total points. The sophomore class is next with 18 points, while the juniors (five players, all of whom are defensemen) have seven.
Thinking Outside the Box
Thanks in large part to a penalty-free game against Hockey East’s Maine, BSU went 110:49 without a penalty during a stretch in November between a Kristin Huber tripping call in the series opener against the Black Bears and an Ivana Bilic slash in the second period of a Nov. 18 tilt against North Dakota. Even after getting as many as 14 penalty minutes for the second time this year (tying a season-high) Dec. 2, the Beavers are tied for being the fourth-least penalized team in the nation with just 7.6 penalty minutes per game. They are tied with Princeton and only Quinnipiac (6.0), Union (6.9), and Brown (7.3) have less.
On the Docket
Bemidji State’s schedule in 2012 was a tough one and it doesn’t get any easier with the start of the New Year. Cumulatively in 2012-13, the Beavers are slated to play 18 games against teams with recognition in the current USCHO.com national poll and still have a road series against every WCHA team to go. BSU finished its nonconference schedule with a 1-2-1 record and will play its final 22 (14 remaining) games of the year against WCHA foes. The Beavers are now 2-7-1 on the year against teams with recognition in the national rankings at the time of the game.
Flipping the Calendar
Bemidji State finished the month of October with a 2-5-1 record. Six of its eight games were played on the road. BSU was 6-2-1 in October last season. In November, the Beavers went 1-4-1 this season after going 4-3-0 in 2011. Bemidji State lost all four of its games—all at home—in December against Minnesota Duluth and No. 1 Minnesota and finished the first half of the season at 3-13-2. The Beavers went 8-23-3 during the 2012 calendar year.
After a sixth-place finish in 2011-12, the Beavers were slotted in the same spot in the WCHA Coaches Poll. BSU, which was tabbed behind Ohio State by the coaches, was picked ahead of the Buckeyes for a fifth-place finish in the USCHO.com’s season preview.
The first half of Bemidji State’s season included some highs and lows. Despite its 3-13-2 record, BSU did become the first team to score (with a Kristin Huber goal) and win at Wisconsin’s brand-new LaBahn Arena. Abby Ryplanski pitched a shutout in a 1-0 victory Oct. 19. The Beavers also recorded their first-ever win the day following U.S. Thanksgiving with a Nov. 23 triumph over Minnesota State. The Beavers were previously 0-5-2 in such games. BSU also posted its first third-period comeback since Nov. 5, 2005 when it rallied to top Providence 3-2 Oct. 5 in the season-opener and had its first penalty-free game since Nov. 4, 2011 in a 2-2 tie Nov. 10 Maine. Also in the first half, Alex Ehlert, Kayleigh Chapman, Megan Lushanko, Kaitlyn Tougas, Hanna Moher, Ivana Bilic, and Lauren Merkley also recorded first career goals and every player on the roster saw playing time in at least one game.
U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game
BSU played in its fourth U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Face Off Classic Nov 1. With a 3-2 overtime win over the Minnesota Whitecaps, the Beavers moved to 2-2-0 in the annual event that is played at the Eveleth Hippodrome in Eveleth, Minn. 2-1-0 in exhibition games against the Whitecaps.
About Last Year
The 2011-12 Bemidji State women’s hockey season was a memorable one. The Beavers finished with a 17-17-3 record, setting a program record for wins in a single season. BSU also topped its best WCHA win total by winning 11 conference contests. Along the way, the Beavers achieved a top-10 national ranking for the first time ever, checking as high as No. 7. After beating and tying Providence in the first week of the season, Bemidji State at least received votes in every poll through the end of the season. BSU recorded at least one win against every squad it faced except regular-season champion Wisconsin. The Beavers also finished 6-0-1 in nonconference play.