EDINA, Minn. – The Bemidji State University women’s hockey team was chosen to finish seventh in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Head Coaches’ Pre-Season Poll Tuesday.
Bemidji State will have a new bench boss for the first time in eight seasons as Jim Scanlan takes the reins from retiring Steve Sertich. Scanlan inherits a team that went 11-21-4 overall (8-17-3 WCHA) in 2013-14.
University of Minnesota led the poll after receiving six of the eight first-place votes. The Golden Gophers (38-2-1 in 2013-14) were the national runners-up last season after losing to Clarkson University in the national championship game. Following Minnesota in the poll was fellow NCAA tournament participant, University of Wisconsin. The Badgers received the other two first-place votes. Rounding out the top half of the poll was University of Minnesota Duluth in third and fourth was University of North Dakota. Also in front of Bemidji State was the Ohio State University in fifth and Minnesota State University, Mankato in sixth. Bemidji State was seventh and St. Cloud State University rounded out the poll finishing eighth.
Minnesota forward Hannah Brandt was tabbed as the WCHA Preseason Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Wisconsin freshman Annie Pankowski was selected as the league’s top rookie heading into the 2014-15 campaign with fellow Badger Baylee Wellhausen and Minnesota’s Cara Piazza also receiving votes for the WCHA’s top newcomer.
This year’s BSU women’s hockey team returns 19 players from 2013-14 The Beavers will have a wealth of experience returning as eight players have appeared in at least 60 games during their respective careers. Kaitlyn Tougas (F, Jr., Thunder Bay, Ontario) leads the returning skaters as she led the team in points (22), assists (14) and was tied for the team-lead in goals (8).
In goal, returning sophomore Brittni Mowat (Glenboro, Manitoba) will look to build upon last season, in which she received a spot on the All-WCHA Rookie Team. Mowat broke multiple program records for freshman net minders including wins (10), games (33), minutes (1888:34), goals against average (2.45) and save percentage (.918).
The Beavers begin their 2014-15 season with a two-game 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 Renesselaer 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 Ohio State.
For more information on the Bemidji 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).