MADISON, Wis. – The Western Collegiate Hockey Conference (WCHA) announced Wednesday that Bemidji State University women’s hockey captain Erika Wheelhouse (Sr., Crookston, Minn.) has been selected WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for her efforts in the Beavers’ weekend split against Minnesota State University, Mankato Jan. 11-12. Wheelhouse is the second consecutive Beaver to receive the award after Jessica Havel (Sr., Grand Rapids, Minn.) took it home last week following a 21-save shutout versus St. Cloud State University.
Wheelhouse, a senior captain, played an enormous role in helping Bemidji State post its first home win of the season against Minnesota State. The Crookston, Minn. native blocked 13 shots—31.0 percent of the MSU’s shot attempts in the game were blocked by Wheelhouse—in a defensive effort that held the Mavericks to just 10 shots on goal, helping Havel post her second straight shutout. The 10 shots allowed was the lowest for BSU all season. Wheelhouse was also a +1 in the game.
In the weekend finale, Wheelhouse posted five more blocks to maintain the team-lead for the season with 102. She now has 326 in her career. With BSU trailing 3-2 with 11.8 seconds left in regulation, she potted her first goal of the season to force overtime. Minnesota State finished the weekend with just 37 total shots as Wheelhouse piled up 18 blocks. She now leads BSU defensemen in scoring on the season and has reached 50 career points, becoming the fourth blue liner in program history to accomplish the feat. Wheelhouse’s sister, 2011-12 senior Marlee, finished with 51 points in a program-record 146 games played.
The Defensive Player of the Week honor is the third of Wheelhouse’s career. She was also named the league’s top defensive player Oct. 12 and Nov. 30, 2011. In her freshman season on Jan. 13, 2010, she was named WCHA Rookie of the Week.
The WCHA award marks the third the time league has selected a Bemidji State player for a weekly honor in 2012-13. Kaitlyn Tougas (Fr., F, Thunder Bay, Ontario) received the league’s top rookie for the week of Nov. 9-10 when the Beavers hosted the University of Maine before Havel earned Defensive Player of the Week just seven days ago. BSU players last won the award in back-to-back weeks to when then-seniors Zuzana Tomcikova and Montana Vichorek won it in the final two weeks of the 2011-12 regular season.
In addition to Wheelhouse, junior forwards Amanda Kessel of No. 1 University of Minnesota forward Jamie Kenyon of the University of Minnesota Duluth were named Co-Offensive Players of the Week, while University of Wisconsin defenseman Courtney Burke earned the WCHA Rookie Player of the Week award.
Following series splits with St. Cloud State and Minnesota State to open 2013, Bemidji State will travel to face Kenyon and the Bulldogs in Duluth this Friday and Saturday. Both games begin at 7:07 p.m. BSU is 4-5-1 on the road this season.
For more information on the Bemdji State University women’s hockey program follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BeaverWoHockey or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers), or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).