Ohio State (15-9-2, 10-8-2-2 WCHA)
at Bemidji State (5-17-2, 4-15-1-0 WCHA)
Fri., Feb. 1, 2013, 2:07 p.m. (CT)
Sat., Feb. 2, 2013, 2:07 p.m. (CT)
Location: Sanford Center (4,373), Bemidji, Minn.
Series History: Ohio State leads 29-17-10
Last Time Out
Bemidji State finished the month of January with a 2-4-0 record after being swept on the road against Minnesota Duluth. In the series-opener in Duluth, the Bulldogs jumped out to the early 1-0 lead 5:01 into regulation and added to its lead with two second-period tallies en route to a 3-0 win. The Beavers came out much stronger in the second game, taking the lead on sophomore Rachael Kelly’s first goal since Oct. 21, but UMD responded with four goals between the 14:31 mark of the first period and the 17:49 mark of the second period. Junior Alex Ehlert notched her first goal since the season-opener Oct. 5 at Providence, but the Beavers weren’t able to cut their deficit any further and were downed 4-2.
BSU vs. Ohio State
All-time, Bemidji State is 17-29-10 against the Buckeyes. Ohio State won the season series with a 2-1-1 record in 2011-12 and earlier this year, OSU topped the Beavers 4-1 and 10-1 in Columbus.
About the Buckeyes
Ohio State is coming off a 13-week stay in the national rankings that was sparked by an 11-4-0 start and, like BSU, was swept in its last series by red-hot Minnesota Duluth. OSU has gotten off to a slower start in the 2013 portion if its schedule, going 1-4-1 in the month of January. Up front, the Buckeyes are led by Ally Tarr’s 26 points (8g-18a). Tarr is followed by Paige Semenza (12g-10a) and Taylor Kuehl (12g-10a) who have 22 points apiece and Hokey Langan (6g-15a) and leading-scoring defenseman Kari Schmitt (3g-18a), who have 21 each. In 25 starts in goal, Chelsea Knapp is 15-8-2 with a 2.32 goals against average, a .918 save percentage, and two shutouts.
Kostenko Heating Up
Seniors Emily Erickson and Sadie Lunquist lead the Beavers with 14 points each, but sophomore Natasha Kostenko has been the catalyst for the team’s offense, scoring at least a point in seven of her last nine games. In the two games in which she didn’t score, BSU was shut out.
Erickson Nearing Milestone
Redshirt senior Emily Erickson was held scoreless in BSU’s last series at UMD despite earning a slew of scoring chances, including six shots on goal, two pipe shots, and a narrowly missed breakaway. Erickson notched at least a point in the team’s first four games of 2013 before that and now has 90 for her career. The Beavers have eight regular season games to go and at least two playoff games. If Erickson can notch 10 or more points in that time, she’d be the fourth player in program history to hit the 100-point plateau. She is tied for third in team history with 43 career goals.
This year’s senior class has accumulated 48 wins over the last four seasons and is one win shy of the all-time mark by one senior class at BSU. Last year’s six-member senior class had 49 wins from 2008-12. There are eight seniors this season. As far as individual records go, Erika Wheelhouse enters the weekend with 50 career points, one shy of her sister, Marlee’s, mark. Wheelhouse is also one of five BSU defenders with 10 or more career goals. Fellow senior Sadie Lundquist is one game-winning goal shy of tying Erin Cody’s all-time mark of eight and is tied with Franny Dorr and current teammate MacKenzie Thurston for ninth in program history with 124 consecutive games played.
The BSU women’s hockey team is entering its final month of the regular season and February could prove to be the toughest of them all. After starting out at home against Ohio State, which just finished a 13-week stay in the national rankings, the Beavers will visit No. 9 North Dakota and undefeated, top-ranked Minnesota in consecutive weeks. Bemidji State finishes at home against No. 8 Wisconsin. Against its remaining opponents, BSU is 1-6-1 (1-0-1 against Wisconsin). The Beavers went 3-5-0 in February last year and are 27-70-8 all-time in the month.
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 seven-penalty weekend two weeks ago at Minnesota Duluth, the Beavers are the second-least penalized team in the nation with just 6.8 penalty minutes per game. Only Quinnipiac (6.4 penalty minutes per game) has less.
Seniors Leading the Way
Bemidji State’s senior class has led the way so far in points this season, scoring 46 of the team’s 107 points (42.9 percent). Second on the list are the sophomores, which have 27 total points. The freshman class is next with 24 points, while the juniors (five players, all of whom are defensemen) have 10.
Bemidji State has not scored a power-play goal since Dec. 2 (eight full games) when Natasha Kostenko scored at 10:47 of the third period. The Beavers have gone without a power-play goal for eight games, having gone 491:48 of game time and 55:02 of time on the man-advantage without a power-play goal. It’s the longest such drought since Nov. 17-Dec. 27, 2007, BSU went zero-for-31 in 56:36 of power-play time and 526:29 of game time. During this stretch, BSU’s conversion percentage has dipped from 15.6 percent to 10.4 percent. The longest Bemidji State has gone without a power-play goal is 13 games (39 power plays), a streak that carried over from 2006-07 to 2007-08. The last 13 BSU goals have come either at even strength or with a pulled goaltender and extra attacker.
On Jan. 12, 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 last time that happened was in a 3-3 tie against North Dakota Oct. 20, 2002.
Seniors Sadie Lundquist and MacKenzie Thurston have played in 124 of 124 possible college games. On BSU’s roster, only redshirt seniors Emily Erickson and Abby Williams (132 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. She has played in every game since, however.
By not allowing a goal from the third period of a Dec. 8 loss to Minnesota until the first period of a 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.
Let’s Start the Show Proper, Shall We?
Though Bemidji State is 5-15-2 on the season, the team is 4-4-1 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.
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 to start 2013 with a split at St. Cloud State before being swept on the road for just the second time this year at Minnesota Duluth. BSU is 1-10-1 at home and won a game at the Sanford Center Jan. 11 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.
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.