BEMIDJI, Minn. – There is a sense of excitement around the Bemidji State University women’s hockey team as it makes final preparations for the 2014-15 campaign. One reason for the excitement is that the Beavers have a new head coach this season, Jim Scanlan. Scanlan takes the post after it was left vacant by Steve Sertich who retired following last season.
BSU’s new bench boss inherits a team that went 11-21-4 overall (8-17-3 WCHA) in 2013-14. BSU has 19 players from last season’s roster and welcomes six new players into the fold for 2014-15. In addition to the numbers, BSU returns most of its production and playing experience from last season as 79 percent of its scoring and 86 percent of the minutes played in goal are back.
“I have been very impressed with the young ladies on our team,” said Scanlan. “Hockey-wise there are a lot of unknowns since I have not been out on the ice with them yet. I am really looking forward to that so we can see what we have.”
Stephanie Anderson (R-Jr., North St. Paul, Minn.) Alex Citrowske (Sr., Savage, Minn.)
Reilly Fawcett (Fr., Proctor, Minn.) Kristine Grenier (Sr., St. Leon, Manitoba)
Kristin Huber (R-Jr., Kelowna, B.C.) Rachael Kelly (Sr., Rosemount, Minn.)
Megan Lushanko (Jr., Chisago City, Minn.) Lauren Miller (So., Brockville, Ontario)
Hanna Moher (Jr., Milton, Ontario) Ciscely Nelson (R-Fr., Roseau, Minn.)
Jenessa Phiipcyzk (R-Jr., Stillwater, Minn.) Summer Thibodeau (Fr., Maple Grove, Minn.)
Kaitlyn Tougas (Jr., Thunder Bay, Ontario) Whitney Wivoda (R-Jr., Fairbanks, Alaska)
Bemidji State’s forward group is the most experienced part of its squad with 10 of the 12 main forwards used last season returning for 2014-15. Heading the group of forwards is junior Kaitlyn Tougas. The Thunder Bay, Ontario native led BSU in points (22), assists (14) and goals (8) as a sophomore. In addition to Tougas, seniors Kristine Grenier and Rachael Kelly also return after having stellar junior campaigns. Grenier, a transfer from Mercyhurst, tied Tougas for the team lead with eight goals and led the team with three game-winning goals. Kelly, meanwhile, sparked the squad’s power-play unit with five power-play goals.
In addition to the trio mentioned above, Alex Citrowske, Hanna Moher, Lauren Miller, Stephanie Anderson, Kristin Huber, and Whitney Wivoda each have scored at least eight points during a season in their respective careers. Rounding out the forward group are Reilly Fawcett, Jenessa Phillipczyk, Megan Lushanko, Ciscely Nelson and Summer Thibodeau.
Scanlan on the Forwards: “There are a lot women that have played a lot of hockey for Bemidji State in the forward group,” commented Scanlan. “Potentially we are looking at the top three lines all having played a ton of collegiate hockey, but there is always the possibility that some of the new players could work their way into the lineup.”
Ivana Bilic (Jr., Coquitlam, B.C.) Alex Bond (Fr., Barrie, Ontario)
Kayleigh Chapman (Sr., Virden, Manitoba) Carley Esse (So., Cloquet, Minn.)
Madison Hutchinson (So., Manitou, Manitoba) Alexis Joyce (Fr., Barrie, Ontario)
Emma Terres (Fr., New Hope, Minn.)
The defensive corps for the Beavers is the position most up in the air going into the 2014-15 season as BSU graduated three blueliners from last season’s team in Alex Ehlert, Allie Duellman and Danielle Williams. Ivana Bilic, Kayleigh Chapman, Carley Esse and Madison Hutchinson all return and have at least one year of collegiate hockey under their collective belts, but that two spots up for grabs for the three newcomers: Alex Bond, Alexis Joyce and Emma Terres.
Last season Bilic and Hutchinson proved to be weapons not only defensively but also offensively as both entered the BSU record books for offensive contributions. Bilic currently has five career goals, which is the eighth-most in program history by defensemen. Meanwhile Hutchinson posted 10 assists as a freshman, which was the fifth-most by freshman in program history.
Scanlan on the Defensemen: “I have heard a lot of good things about both Hutchinson and Bilic,” remarked Scanlan. “We also have three new ladies that are in the mix as well, and I am very interested to watch how that position shakes out because the defensive corps is very important.”
Brittni Mowat (So., Glenboro, Manitoba)
Erin Deters (R-Fr., Sartell, Minn.)
Hannah Paulson (Fr., Osseo, Minn.)
Despite not having an upperclassman goaltender, BSU already has an established goaltender on its roster. Brittni Mowat was named to the All-WCHA Rookie Team last season and broke multiple program records for freshman goaltenders in the process. The Glenboro, Manitoba native holds BSU program marks for the most wins (10), games played (33), minutes (1888:34), goals against average (2.45) and save percentage (.918) by a freshman.
In addition to Mowat, Erin Deters and Hannah Paulson are also in the mix for playing time. Deters redshirted last season, while Paulson was nominated for the Ms. Goalie award in the State of Minnesota last season at North Metro High School.
Scanlan on the Goaltenders: “Mowat had a outstanding freshman season and that experience will definitely help this season,” said Scanlan. “We also have Erin Deters and Hannah Paulson that are in the mix to add some healthy competition.”
While the head coach has changed, the rest of the Beavers’ coaching staff remains intact. Assistant coaches Amber Fryklund and Shane Veenker return for their fourth and ninth seasons on Bemidji State’s coaching staff, respectively.
BSU’s schedule has always been a difficult one and that trend will continue in 2014-15. Bemidji State will have 28 Western Collegiate Hockey Association contests to go with six non-conference games and one exhibition tilt. Among the 35 games for the Beavers, 22 of them will be against teams that were ranked in the USCHO.com national poll last season.
The Beavers begin their 2014-15 season with a two-game series road series versus Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pa., and open their home schedule the following weekend with a rare split series against University of Vermont (Oct. 3) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) (Oct. 4). Following the home-opening weekend, BSU will have an off week before it begins WCHA play with a road series at the Ohio State University.
For more information on the Bemidji State volleyball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BeaverWoHockey), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" 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).