BSU travels to No. 6/9 Wisconsin to open LaBahn Arena
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
BSU travels to No. 6/9 Wisconsin to open LaBahn Arena

Bemidji State at No. 9 Wisconsin
Oct. 19, 2012, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21, 2012, 2 p.m.
Location: LaBahn Arena (2,262), Madison, Wis.
Series History: UW leads 47-3-2

Last Time Out
Last weekend, the Bemidji State women took on St. Cloud in their home-opening series and their first series in WCHA play in 2012-13. In the first game, St. Cloud scored first in the opening frame and added two more goals in the second to enter the third period with a 3-0 lead. Whitney Wivoda scored a power-play marker to make it 3-1, but that was all BSU could muster. Jessica Havel took her first career loss in her first Sanford Center start. Saturday starter Abby Ryplanski was solid, making 27 saves in her BSU home debut, but came up short after allowing an Abby Ness goal in the final frame, the only score of the contest. The game finished 1-0 in SCSU’s favor, giving the Huskies their first sweep of Bemidji State since. Nov. 21-22, 2008.

BSU vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin enters the weekend with a decisive 47-3-2 advantage in the all-time series against BSU. The Badgers have won the last eight meetings dating back to Feb. 7, 2010, a 2-0 Beaver win.

About the Badgers
Coming off a 33-5-2 2011-12 campaign, Wisconsin is off to a 3-2-1 start to the year after tying and beating Minnesota State, sweeping Lindenwood, and being shutout in back-to-back games at Minnesota Duluth. This weekend’s series will be UW’s first at home in its brand new rink, LaBahn Arena. The Badgers are led by 2011-12 Patty Kazmaier Award winning forward Brianna Decker, who has 11 points (6g,5a). Also returning to the defending WCHA regular-season champions and NCAA runner ups are junior Madison Packer, who has eight points, (2g,6a) and goalie Alex Rigsby, who has a 1.68 goals against average and a .920 save percentage in six starts.

Opening the New Barn
Bemidji State will be traveling to Madison this weekend to open Wisconsin’s brand new rink, LaBahn Arena, with a Friday-Sunday series. BSU had its home opener against St. Cloud last weekend, but UW has started the season with six road contests. Wisconsin also welcomed the Beavers to play in the Camp Randall Hockey Classic outdoor game on Feb. 6, 2010, a game the Badgers won 6-1.

Looking for a W Against UW
Last season, Bemidji State recorded at least one win against every team on its schedule, except for Wisconsin. In the program’s winningest season in 13 years of existence, BSU defeated six of seven WCHA opponents, as well as nonconference foes Providence, Maine, and Lindenwood, but not the Badgers. UW defeated Bemidji State by scores of 3-1, 6-1, 3-2 in overtime, and 1-0. The 6-1 loss to Wisconsin on Dec. 10 marked the most goals the Beavers allowed in the 2011-12 season. The Beavers are just 3-47-2 against UW all-time and have lost eight in a row against the Badgers dating back to a 2-0 road win on Feb. 7, 2010.

Welcome Back
Senior Emily Erickson, who has the most career points of any player on Bemidji State, and sophomore, top-six forward Kristin Huber made their season debuts against St. Cloud last weekend. Sophomore Rachael Kelly, who tied for the team-lead in game-winning goals, did as well, playing in Friday’s game. Defenseman Lauren Merkley made her collegiate debut on Friday and also played Saturday. All four players went scoreless.

Between the Pipes
After losing Second Team All-American Zuzana Tomcikova and steady backup Alana McElhinney to graduation, the Beavers have looked to move forward in 2012-13. So far, senior Jessica Havel and sophomore transfer Abby Ryplanski have stepped in and played solid. Havel is 1-1-0 and has stopped 50 of 55 shots in two games. Ryplanski also has started twice and has lost both times, turning aside 48 of 56 shots.

All-time Against SCSU
Entering last weekend, Bemidji State had won 10 straight games against St. Cloud State. The Huskies snapped that streak with a win on Friday and recorded their first sweep of the Beavers since Nov. 21-22, 2008 win another win on Saturday in BSU’s Breast Cancer Awareness game. St. Cloud now leads the all-time series against BSU 28-26-7 after starting the weekend at a 26-26-7 split.

On the Docket
The schedule for the BSU women’s hockey team is tough as usual in 2012-13. After beginning with a split against Poll vote-getter Providence, the Beavers jumped right into grueling WCHA slate, that includes four meetings apiece against four top-ten teams: unanimous No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Minnesota, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 9 Wisconsin, and No. 10 North Dakota

The month October features a large amount of travel for BSU. After beginning the year with its longest trip, 1,200 miles to Providence, the Beavers played their only home series of the month against St. Cloud. This week, Bemidji State will open Wisconsin’s new LaBahn Arena in a Friday-Sunday series and with follow that with its’ second-longest trip of the season, an 800 mile trek to Ohio State. After October is finished, the team will only leave the state of Minnesota one more time for a series at North Dakota in February.

Aside from traveling to play Providence to open the season, the Beavers only other nonconference series will come when they host Maine of Hockey East on Nov. 9 and 10. The week before its series against the Black Bears, Bemidji State will play its only exhibition of the season in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Classic against the Minnesota Whitecaps in Eveleth, Minn.

Two Scores and Seven Years
Entering the third period against Providence in their season-opener, Bemidji State trailed 2-1 and was down 2-0 before sophomore Kayleigh Chapman cut the deficit in half with her team’s first goal of the season. In the final frame, Alex Ehlert knotted the score with 12:25 to play and Natasha Kostenko put the Beavers in front with 5:55 to play. The two third period goals gave BSU its first third-period comeback in almost seven years when it erased a 1-0 deficit at Minnesota State on Nov. 5, 2005 to win 2-1.

First Time at the Perfect Time
There were many firsts for Bemidji State in its season-opening series at Providence. In their first game of the season, sophomore Kayleigh Chapman and junior Alex Ehlert tallied their first collegiate goals to help BSU to a 3-2 win. Ehlert went on to record a second assist to earn her first multiple-point game. Also, in the game, freshmen Kaitlyn Tougas and Megan Lushanko recorded their first college points. Tougas then went on to register the first goal of her career the following day. The goal was the only power play goal by either team on the weekend.

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-ten 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.
The Beavers first vaulted into national rankings when they defeated eventual national champion Minnesota on Oct. 28. The loss was one of four in regulation for the Gophers on the season. BSU recorded at least one win against every squad in the WCHA except regular-season champion Wisconsin and finished 6-0-1 in nonconference play. Bemidji State finished in sixth place in the conference and went on to get eliminated in the first round of the league playoffs against North Dakota in two low-scoring, two-goal games.

Behind the Bench
Accomplished head coach Steve Sertich returns for a seventh season behind the BSU bench and enters this weekend with a 65-130-27 record. Assistants Shane Veenker (sixth season) and Amber Fryklund (second season) join Sertich, along with strength and conditioning student assistant Kailey Cox (second season) and student assistant Tegan Rose, who played for the team as a freshman last year.

Oh Captain, My Captain
This year’s BSU hockey team entered the season with an average age of 20.1, consisting of eight seniors, five juniors, eight sophomores, and seven freshmen. Leading the team as captains will be senior forward Sadie Lundquist and fourth-year defenseman Erika Wheelhouse, a 2012 USA Women’s Hockey Festival invitee and sister of 2011-12 senior Marlee Wheelhouse. Wearing the “A” as assistant captain is MacKenzie Thurston.

Preseason Picks
After a sixth-place finish in 2011-12, the Beavers were slotted in the same spot in the WCHA Coaches Poll, which was released three weeks ago. The top five teams were Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota (tied for second), Minnesota Duluth, and Ohio State. BSU was picked ahead of the Buckeyes for a fifth-place finish in the’s season preview. Both Minnesota State and St. Cloud State were picked to finish behind the Beavers in both sets of picks. North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin were listed as the top three teams, respectively, in’s preview.