Thursday, January 17, 2013
Last Time Out
Playing at home for the first time in 2013, Bemidji State skated on home ice last week against Minnesota State. In the series opener, a strong defensive effort vaulted the Beavers to a 2-0 win, their first home win of the season. The Mavericks mustered just 10 shots on goal and Jessica Havel was able to post her second shutout in as many games. BSU got off to a slow start in the Saturday rematch, falling behind 3-0 after two periods. In the final frame, however, Bemidji State picked up its play. After MacKenzie Thurston had a goal disallowed four minutes into the stanza, Kaitlyn Tougas got the Beavers on the board with two goals that came 5:32 apart. Erika Wheelhouse knotted the score with 11.8 seconds to go, but MSU came away with a 4-3 win in overtime.
BSU vs. Minnesota Duluth
Minnesota Duluth has controlled the all-time series with the Beavers, leading 54-3-2 after a 48-0-2 start. The teams split four games last year, but the Bulldogs swept BSU in Bemidji in December.
About the Bulldogs
UMD enters the weekend as one of the hottest teams in the WCHA, riding a six-game unbeaten streak. The Bulldogs climbed to fourth place in the league after a convincing sweep of St. Cloud State. Sophomores Zoe Hickel (8g-7a) and Jenna McParland (6g-9a) lead the team with 15 points apiece, while senior captain Jessica Wong has 14 (5g-9a). Junior Jamie Kenyon (8g-5a), the WCHA Co- Offensive Player of the Week (four goal against SCSU last weekend) is next with 13 points. Between the pipes, Kayla Black has led the way with an 8-8-3 record in 18 starts (19 total games). She has three shutouts to go along with a 1.91 goals against average and a .928 save percentage.
Last Saturday, Bemidji State trailed 3-0 heading into the third period before rallying to force overtime. It was the seventh time in program in program history the team came back to tie the score after trailing by three goals or more and it was just the third time BSU did so facing a three-goal deficit entering the third period. The Beavers came back to finish with a 3-3 tie after starting the third period down 3-0 Oct. 20, 2002 against North Dakota and managed a 4-4 tie against St. Cloud State Oct. 27, 2001 after trailing 4-0 at the second intermission. Current BSU assistant coach Amber Fryklund notched an assist in the North Dakota comeback and potted the game-tying goal with 50 seconds left against SCSU in 2001.
Last week’s WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, Jessica Havel, followed her first career shutout with another one last Friday against Minnesota State. It was the fourth time the Beavers posted back-to-back shutouts in team history (third against two WCHA opponents) and was the first time since Nov. 5 and 10, 2011 when BSU blanked Minnesota State 1-0 and drubbed Lindenwood 11-0 in its next game. Havel stopped 10 shots in the final 20 minutes of the Lindenwood game. Havel and Emily Brookshaw (Feb. 11-12, 2005) are the only two BSU goalies to play a full 60 minutes during back-to-back shutout games.
By not allowing a goal from the third period of a Dec. 8 loss to Minnesota until the first period of last Saturday’s (Jan. 12) tilt against Minnesota State, Jessica Havel posted the second-longest shutout streak in program history, making 35 saves during a 132:53 goal-free span. The longest streak was a 149:30 run by 2011-12 senior and All- American Zuzana Tomcikova that went from Oct. 29, 2010-Nov. 6, 2010. Tomcikova shut out St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth in consecutive starts. Third on the list is Emily Brookshaw at 124:21. Her streak included games from Feb. 5 to Feb. 18, 2005.
Last weekend, Erika Wheelhouse surpassed the 100-block mark for the season by registering 18 in two games, including 13 in a defensive effort in which the Beavers held Minnesota State to 10 shots on goal (and no goals), a season-best for BSU. Wheelhouse has 102 blocks on the season and 326 in her career. The senior captain capped the weekend with her first goal of the year, tying the game at three with 11.8 seconds to play. Wheel- house’s efforts earned her WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors for the third time in her career.
Back With a Bang
After missing the first two games of the second half, Kaitlyn Tougas returned to make a huge impact last week against Minnesota State. In the first game, Tougas earned a primary assist in a 2-0 win. On Saturday, Tougas became the first Beaver all year to score twice in a game, spurring BSU to a three-goal, third-period comeback to force overtime.
Let’s Start the Show Proper, Shall We?
Though Bemidji State is 5-15-2 on the season, the team is 4-3-1 in games in which it scores first. The Beavers have carried leads into the third period five times this season and are 3-2-1 when doing so. BSU scored first last Jan. 5 against St. Cloud State and Jan. 11 against Minnesota State and went on to win both games 2-0.
By beating St. Cloud State and Minnesota by 2-0 scores in consecutive games, Bemidji State played back-to- back 2-0 contests for the first time since the 2009-10 season, when the Beavers beat Wisconsin 2-0 Feb. 7, 2010 on the road and fell to North Dakota at home by the same score five days later. It wss the third time ever the Beavers played two 2-0 games in a row.
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 kept the trend two weeks ago with a split at St. Cloud State. BSU is 1-10-1 at home and won a game at the Sanford Center last Friday for the first time since it topped then-No. 9 Minnesota Duluth 2-0 Feb. 11, 2012. BSU is 18-21-4 all-time in its new arena but was 17-10-4 there prior to 2012-13.
Seniors Leading the Way
Bemidji State’s senior class has led the way so far in points this season, scoring 44 of the team’s 101 points (43.6 percent). Second on the list are the sophomores, which have 25 total points. The freshman class is next with 23 points, while the juniors (five players, all of whom are defensemen) have nine.
Thinking Outside the Box
Thanks in large part to penalty-free games against Maine and Minnesota State, BSU has had streaks of 110:49 and 69:10 without a penalty this season. After a one-penalty weekend last week at home, the Beavers are the second-least penalized team in the nation with just 6.7 penalty minutes per game. Only Quinnipiac (5.9 penalty minutes per game) has less.
Seniors Sadie Lundquist and MacKenzie Thurston have played in 122 of 122 possible college games. On BSU’s roster, only redshirt seniors Emily Erickson and Abby Williams (130 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. Freshmen Megan Lushanko, Hanna Moher, and Kaitlyn Tougas each missed games for the first time over the past two weekends.
On the Docket
Cumulatively in 2012-13, the Beavers are slated to play 16 games against teams with recognition in the current USCHO.com national poll and still has a series against the top five teams in the WCHA standings remaining. BSU finished its nonconference schedule with a 1-2-1 record. The Beavers are 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.
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. For its only exhibition contest, 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. and improved to 2-1-0 in exhibition games against the Whitecaps.
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.
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. BSU also finished 6-0-1 in nonconference play.