BEMIDJI, Minn. – The No. 9 Bemidji State University women’s hockey team plays its first road series of the season by traveling to Burlington, Vt. for a non-conference match-up with the University of Vermont Friday and Saturday. The Beavers (1-0-1, 0-0-0 WCHA) and the Catamounts (0-0-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) will begin the series with a game at 3:30 p.m. Friday, followed by the final game at 3 p.m. Saturday.
A member of the Hockey East conference, Vermont will play its first games of the 2015-16 season against the Beavers. The Catamounts played an exhibition game on Sept. 27 against McGill University where UVM fell 2-1. Vermont went 15-19-2 during the 2014-15 season and defeated, then ranked No. 7, Western Collegiate Hockey Association member the University of North Dakota in its first game of the season.
Opening weekend split
Bemidji State is coming off an opening weekend where it split a two-game series with Robert Morris University. The Beavers began the season with a 3-1 win against the Colonials in a game that saw Alexis Joyce, Lauren Miller, and Stephanie Anderson each score their first goals of the season. Joyce and Miller each recorded an assist in the game as well, to tally their first multi-point games of the season. Senior Ivana Bilic registered her first point of the season after assisting on Anderson’s power-play goal.
The Beavers followed up their 3-1 win by scoring four goals Saturday night. However, the Colonials saw more offensive production in game two and earned a 4-4 tie. Bemidji State led late but a goal with 18 seconds remaining by RMU’s Amber Rennie sent the game to overtime. Neither team scored in the extra period and both teams would send out three scorers to decide a shootout winner. The Beavers would score one during the shootout, but failed to stop two attempts by the Colonials to fall 2-1.
A Look at the Catamounts
Similar to Bemidji State, Vermont returns three of its five top scorers from a season ago including leading scorer and All-Hockey East Honorable Mention Dayna Colang (18g-14a=32p). Colang finished second in the Hockey East conference by recording 15 power-play points and scoring eight power-play goals. Also returning as leading point-getter this season will be Amanda Drobot (3g-14a=17p) and Bridget Baker (7g-9a=16p). In all, the Catamounts return 51.2 percent of their scoring from the previous season.
Vermont finished seventh in the Hockey East with a 6-14-1 conference record. The Catamounts set a program record with nine wins against non-conference opponents and upset two ranked opponents during the season.
UVM returns its leading netminder in Madison Litchfield. Litchfield compiled a 12-15-2 record in 30 games, and led the team with a 3.12 GAA and .893 save percentage.
The Beavers and Catamounts have played five games against each other, dating back to the first game in 2006. Bemidji State has gone undefeated in each game and leads the series 4-0-1. In their last meeting, Bemidji State defeated UVM 4-0 in Bemidji with then sophomore goaltender, Brittni Mowat, earning a 28 save shutout. The weekend’s series will mark the first time that either team has played the other as a nationally ranked program after BSU was ranked No. 9 in the latest USCHO.com poll and tied for ninth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
WCHA Defender of the Week
After earning WCHA Rookie of the Year last season, sophomore Alexis Joyce continued her stellar play in the opening weekend and was named the WCHA Defender of the Week. Joyce excelled on both ends of the ice as Bemidji State opened its season with a win and tie against visiting Robert Morris. The sophomore from Lakeville, Minn. led the Beavers with a +5 rating, tied for the team lead in points (three) and goals (two), and blocked two shots as part of a BSU defensive unit that limited its opponent to just 36 shots on the weekend. Joyce scored BSU’s season-opening goal Friday night, then assisted on the game-winning strike in a 4-1 victory.
WCHA In the Polls
As the new season gets underway, the WCHA is in a familiar place with four teams in identical positions in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national rankings. No. 1 Minnesota garnered preseason top billing in both polls, while the Gophers are joined by 2015 Frozen Four opponent Wisconsin (No. 3), 2015 Final Face-Off participants North Dakota (No. 6) and Bemidji State (No. 9 and tied for ninth- the Beavers’ highest ranking since 2011-12). A fifth WCHA team, Minnesota Duluth, is receiving votes in both polls.
For more information on the Bemidji State hockey program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers), 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 wooden region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, BSU 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).