BSU ventures to Columbus to take on No. 10 Buckeyes
Thursday, October 25, 2012
BSU ventures to Columbus to take on No. 10 Buckeyes

Bemidji State at No. 10 Ohio State
Oct. 26, 2012, 6 p.m. (CT)
Oct. 27, 2012, 3 p.m. (CT)
Location: OSU Ice Rink (800), Columbus, Ohio
Series History: OSU leads 27-17-10

Last Time Out
After being swept by St. Cloud State in its first home series and first WCHA series of the season two weeks ago, Bemidji State came up with a win and a tie in the first-ever series for No. 6/9 Wisconsin at its brand-new LaBahn Arena. Prior to each series, BSU was riding a 10-game winning streak against the Huskies and had lost eight in a row to the Badgers. Kristin Huber scored her first goal of the season in last Friday’s opener at UW and Abby Ryplanski pitched a 27-save shutout. On Sunday, the Beavers overcame third-period deficits of 2-1 and 3-2 to come away with a tie and the series win. MacKenzie Thurston, Rachael Kelly, and Sadie Lunquist each recorded her first goal of the season in the game and Ryplanski made a career-high 42 saves.

BSU vs. Ohio State
Bemidji State is 17-27-10 all-time against Ohio State after going 1-2-1 against the Buckeyes last year.

About the Buckeyes
Ohio State started the season strong as moved as high as No. 6 in the national rankings before getting swept at top-ranked Minnesota last week. OSU earned a win against North Dakota and swept Minnesota Duluth. In trying to replace 2011-12 leading scorer Natalie Spooner and high-scoring forward Laura McIntosh, senior forward Paige Semenza leads the team with 12 points (7g, 5a) and a plus-four plus/minus rating. Junior defenseman Annie Svedin is second on the team in points with eight (2g, 6a). In goal, Chelsea Knapp leads the way with a 5-3-0 record, 2.72 goals against average, and a .905 save percentage. Ohio State is third nationally in penalty minutes per game at 13.6.

Big Weekend in Madison
Last weekend, Bemidji State won its first-ever series against perennial national power Wisconsin in 27 all-time series. The Beavers opened the weekend by shutting the Badgers out 1-0 in UW’s first-ever game at the brand-new LaBahn Arena. Kristin Huber scored the first goal in the new barn and Abby Ryplanski denied 27 Wisconsin shots. After rallying twice in the third period to force a 3-3 tie on Sunday (the Badgers won in a shootout, 2-0), the Beavers earned their fourth point of a possible six on the weekend.

The win over then-No. 6/9 Wisconsin was BSU’s first over a top-ten team since it downed then-No. 9 Minnesota Duluth 2-0 on Feb. 11, 2012. The series win was the Beavers’ third all-time against a top-10-ranked team. Bemidji State also beat and tied No. 9 Providence to open 2011-12 and had the same result against then-No. 9 Ohio State on Jan. 5-6, 2007. UW was the only team BSU didn’t defeat at least once on its 2011-12 schedule. Friday’s victory, the program’s fourth against the Badgers in 53 contests, came in front of a capacity crowd of 2,273.

Spreading it Around
Through six games in 2012-13, Bemidji State has scored nine goals. All nine scores have been tallied by different players. Thirteen different players have recorded a point, but only MacKenzie Thurston has more than three (1g, 3a).

Ryplanski Comes up Big
Niagara transfer Abby Ryplanski was one of the key cogs in the Beavers’ four-point weekend in Madison last week. The sophomore netminder recorded 69 saves on 72 shots and earned her first win and first shutout for BSU in Friday’s 1-0 triumph. The shutout was the second of her career as she blanked Colgate on Nov. 5, 2011 for the Purple Eagles. On Sunday, the Winnipeg native turned aside a career-high 42 shots and saved UW’s first 48 shots of the weekend. Her efforts earned her Beaver Pride Athlete of the Week honors.

Thurston Gets Two
In Sunday’s 3-3 tie, senior assistant captain MacKenzie Thurston recorded the second multi-point game of the season for BSU. Alex Ehlert got the first in a 3-2 season-opening win over Providence with a goal and an assist. After her unassisted go-ahead goal and third-period, game-tying assist, Thurston now leads the Beavers with four points (1g, 3a) after passing Whitney Wivoda, who missed Sunday’s game due to injury. Thurston had just one goal in the entire 2011-12 season.

Time to Shine
Bemidji State needed an offensive punch when it trailed by a goal twice in the third period against UW and received just that from some familiar sources. Rachael Kelly, who tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (three) a season ago tied the score at two and Sadie Lundquist, who shared that distinction with Kelly and Emily Erickson, re-tied the game with  56 seconds left. Lundquist’s goal was assisted by Kaitlyn Tougas, who also assisted on the game-tying goal in a 3-2 season-opening comeback win over Providence. Erickson earned the secondary assist on the score to earn her first point of 2012-13.

The Extra Point
Sunday’s shootout loss in the first-ever between shootout Bemidji State and Wisconsin, was BSU’s fifth straight loss in the post-overtime event, dropping the team’s all-time record to 9-13 in shootouts. The last time the Beavers prevailed in a shootout was on Dec. 11, 2010 after a 1-1 tie with Minnesota State.

On the Docket
As usual, BSU’s women’s hockey schedule is a tough one. It includes three teams currently in’s top-10 in No. 1 Minnesota, No. 8 North Dakota, and No. 10 Minnesota State. Four of the teams that received votes are also on the schedule: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota Duluth, and Providence. After traveling to Columbus this weekend, the team’s second-longest trip of the season, BSU will only leave the state of Minnesota once more in regular-season play when it heads to North Dakota in February. Four of the team’s five remaining series before winter break will be played at the Sanford Center.

With a 1-0 loss to St. Cloud on Oct. 13 and a 1-0 win against Wisconsin last Friday, BSU played in back-to-back 1-0 games for the first time since losing to Minnesota 1-0 on Dec. 1, 2007 and falling by the same score to SCSU seven days later. 

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.

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 66-130-28 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.