Beavers return home to face Maine of Hockey East
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Beavers return home to face Maine of Hockey East

Bemidji State vs. Maine
Nov. 9, 2012, 7 p.m. (CT)
Nov. 10, 2012, 7 p.m. (CT)
Location: Sanford Center (4,373), Bemidji, Minn.
Series History: Maine leads 3-2-0

Last Time Out
In its last series before an off week, the Bemidji State was swept on the road against Ohio State, falling 4-1 and 10-1. Sophomore Natasha Kostenko scored both of BSU’s goals and Emily Erickson notched two assists. It was the first sweep OSU recorded over the Beavers since Oct. 24-25, 2008. Last Thursday, Bemidji State hit the ice again for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Face Off Classic at the Eveleth Hippodrome in Eveleth, Minn. BSU beat the Minnesota Whitecaps game 3-2 in overtime with goals by Minnesotans Sadie Lundquist, Alex Citrowske, and Emily Erickson. BSU overcame a 2-1 third-period deficit to win its second consecutive Face Off Classic after the team dropped its first two contests in Eveleth. It was the Beavers’ only exhibition of 2012-13.

BSU vs. Maine
Bemidji State is 2-3-0 against Maine all-time and has never hosted the Black Bears. BSU swept Maine in Orono, Maine last year with a 3-2 overtime win and a 7-1 victory the following day.

About the Black Bears
Maine, who tied Providence for fourth place in Hockey East last season, is off to a 1-7-0 start this year with a 1-5-0 ledger in Hockey East play. The Black Bears’ lone win came against Connecticut and the team was swept by the Friars last weekend. Senior Brittany Dougherty leads the team with nine points (2g-7a) and freshman Audra Richards has a team-best four goals in addition to one assist. In goal, fourth-year netminder Brittany Ott is 1-2-0 with a 3.37 goals against average and a .904 save percentage, while sophomore Megan Treacy is 0-4-0 with and has conceded 3.53 goals per 60 minutes to go along with an .897 save percentage. 

U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game
Last Thursday, Bemidji State played in its fourth U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Face Off Classic. With a 3-2 overtime win over the Minnesota Whitecaps, the Beavers are now 2-2-0 in the annual event that is played at the Eveleth Hippodrome in Eveleth, Minn. The Beavers lost 9-0 to then-No. 1 Wisconsin in their first Hall of Fame Game on Oct. 18, 2008, dropped a 3-1 decision against the Minnesota Whitecaps on Oct. 22, 2010, and routed Lindenwood 11-0 in their third game in Eveleth on Nov. 10, 2011. In three all-time exhibition contests against the Whitecaps, BSU is 2-1-0.

A Week Away From the WCHA
After a 1-4-1-0 start in WCHA play, the Beavers will play their final nonconference series of the season against Maine. BSU is 8-1-1 in its last 10 nonconference games against non-WCHA foes dating back to an Oct. 16, 2010 win over Mercyhurst after beginning the season with a split at Providence. Bemidji State is 7-8-4 all-time against Hockey East foes, including a 2-3-0 mark against this week’s opponent, Maine.

BSU in October
Bemidji State finished the month of October with a 2-5-1 record. Six of its eight games were played on the road. BSU was 6-2-1 in October last season.

Settle In
After traveling to Providence, Wisconsin, and Ohio State, its three longest trips of the season, Bemidji State will play at home in four out of its remaining five series before Winter Break. The Beavers will only leave the state of Minnesota one more time in the regular season, when they head to North Dakota in February.

Eight games into the season, senior MacKenzie Thurston leads the Beavers in points with five  (1g, 4a). Thurston took over the scoring lead with a two-point game against Wisconsin on Oct. 21. She took the lead from sophomore Whitney Wivoda, who has been out with injury since Oct. 19. Wivoda scored three points in five games and BSU is just 0-2-1 without the sophomore forward.

On the Docket
As usual, Bemidji State’s schedule is a tough one in 2012-13. The Beavers are slated to play 18 games against teams with recognition in this week’s national poll.

Welcome to Bemidji
The Beavers bolstered their defensive corps over the off week, adding freshman defender Ivana Bilic to the roster. She wore the Bemidji State jersey for the first time last Thursday. Jenessa Phillipczyk also dressed for the first time against the Whitecaps.

Scoring First
Getting the game’s first goal can go a long way and BSU has only done that twice this season. The Beavers earned a win and a tie against Wisconsin and got the game’s first goal in both contests. After erasing a 2-0 deficit to win against Providence in its season opener, BSU has lost five straight games in which it has conceded the first goal.

With points in each of BSU’s games against Ohio State, Emily Erickson has now recorded a point in each of her last three games. She is the second Beaver to register a three-game point streak after sophomore Whitney Wivoda opened the season with points in each of her first three games. With goals in both losses to OSU, second-year forward Natasha Kostenko became the first Bemidji State player to score multiple goals on the year and the first to score in back-to-back games.

No Sophomore Slump or Senioritis
BSU’s seven-member sophomore class has scored 63.6 percent of the team’s goals (seven of 11) in 2012-13. No other class has more than two. The senior class, which also includes seven players and is headed by leading-scorer MacKenzie Thurston, leads the team with 11 total points. 

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 66-132-28 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 are 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 five 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.