EDINA, Minn. – The Bemidji State University women’s hockey team was picked to finish fourth in the 2015 Western Collegiate Hockey Association Head Coaches’ Pre-season Poll Tuesday.
Entering his second season as head coach, Jim Scanlan will look to build upon a 2013-14 year that saw the Beavers set a new school record with 21 wins, while Scanlan was awarded the USCHO.com National Head Coach of the Year.
University of Minnesota was selected to finish atop the conference after receiving six out of eight first-place votes. The Golden Gophers are coming off a campaign which saw them win their third national championship in four seasons, the sixth in school history, and the 15th in 16 seasons for the WCHA. Head Coach Brad Frost's team has also won the last three WCHA regular season crowns, finishing 2014-15 with 72 points on the strength of a 22-2-4 league mark.
Following Minnesota in the poll was fellow NCAA tournament participant, University of Wisconsin after receiving the other two first-place votes. Selected to finish third was University of North Dakota followed by BSU in fourth. University of Minnesota Duluth, with 26 points, was selected to finish in fifth place, while Ohio State University (20 points) was tabbed sixth. St. Cloud State University and Minnesota State University, Mankato rounded out the poll.
Reigning two-time WCHA Player of the Year, Hannah Brandt from Minnesota was the coaches’ choice to repeat as the Player of the Year. The senior forward will join fellow Gopher forward Sarah Potomak as the preseason favorite for WCHA Rookie of the Year.
The Beavers are set to return 21 players for the 2015-16 season. BSU retains the services of its top three leading scorers in Kaitlyn Tougas, Stephanie Anderson, and Ivana Bilic as well as CCM/AHCA All-American and All-WCHA First Team goaltender Brittni Mowat.
The Beavers open their 2015-16 campaign September 25 against Robert Morris University at Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn.