Beavers kick off December by hosting Minnesota Duluth
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Beavers kick off December by hosting Minnesota Duluth

Minnesota Duluth at Bemidji State
Sat., Dec. 1, 2012, 7 p.m. (CT)
Sun., Dec. 2, 2012, 4 p.m. (CT)
 Sanford Center (4,373), Bemidji, Minn.
Series History:
 UMD leads 53-3-2

Last Time Out
Last weekend, Bemidji made its last road trip of the first half of the season when it trekked south to Mankato to play Minnesota State. BSU entered the weekend on a seven-game winless streak, but put that to a halt with a 4-3 win in Friday’s game. Sadie Lundquist assisted on goals by Kaitlyn Tougas, Natasha Kostenko, and Ivana Bilic to put the Beavers up 3-0 and notched the game-winning goal after the Mavericks rallied to tie the score. Jessica Havel made 26 saves to get the win in goal. In the second game, Lauren Smith guided Minnesota State to a 4-1 win with a hat trick and an assist. Hanna Moher scored BSU’s lone goal. After the weekend, the teams are even against each other all-time at 23-23-10, including 13-13-3 at All Seasons Arena.

BSU vs. Minnesota Duluth
In the first 50 meetings between Bemidji State and UMD, the Bulldogs went 48-0-2. Minnesota Duluth now holds a 52-3-2 edge after the teams split four games last year. In those games, UMD outscored BSU 8-7.

About the Bulldogs
Perennial power Minnesota Duluth comes off a pair of losses to WCHA foe North Dakota and with a 5-8-1 overall record (4-7-1-0 in league play) on the season. Five of the Bulldogs’ seven series this season have resulted in a sweep for one team. Senior Jessica Wong (3g-6a) and sophomores Jenna McParland (4g-5a) and Zoe Hickel (5g-4a) are tied for the team lead in points with nine apiece, while three more players have six points each. Between the pipes, freshman Kayla Black has earned all but one decision and is 4-8-1. She has allowed 2.38 goals per 60 minutes with a .912 save percentage and two shutouts.

Lundquist Lights it Up
Sadie Lundquist had a breakout game at Minnesota State last Friday. The senior captain assisted on BSU’s first three goals and scored the game-winner in the third period. Entering the game, BSU hadn’t scored more than three goals in a game and no player had recorded more than two points. She was also a +2. Lundquist’s efforts earned her Beaver Pride Athlete of the Week honors, making her the third women’s hockey player to win the award this year (Abby Ryplanski and Emily Erickson also won it)

Thanksgiving Weekend
Last week, BSU played its eight U.S. Thanksgiving series in 15 years. Friday’s victory was the program’s first on the day following U.S. Thanksgiving. The Beavers were previously 0-5-2 in such games. They are now 4-9-3 in Thanksgiving weekend games.

Skid Snapped
Entering last weekend, BSU was on a seven-game, 35-day winless streak (0-5-2 in that span). It matched the team’s longest winless drought of 2011-12 and was the longest such run in terms of days for the team since the 2008-09. The Beavers put a halt to the skid with a 4-3 win against Minnesota State in the series-opener. All three of Bemidji State’s wins in 2012-13 have come by one goal.

Streaks Snapped
Seniors MacKenzie Thurston and Emily Erickson both had BSU-best four-game point streaks snapped over the weekend. Thurston failed to score in both games, while Erickson had two assists on Friday, but saw her streak end in Saturday’s 4-1 loss.

There’s a First
Ivana Bilic recorded her first collegiate goal in Friday’s win at Minnesota State. She became the sixth Beaver to tally her first career goal this season. Kaitlyn Tougas, who also helped set up Alex Ehlert and Hanna Moher’s first goals, earned the first assist on the play. Also in the game, senior netminder Jessica Havel earned her first-ever WCHA win.

Thinking Outside the Box
Three weeks ago against Maine, Bemidji State had its first penalty-free game since Nov. 4, 2011 in a 2-1 road loss to Minnesota State. Overall, BSU went 110:49 without a penalty between a Kristin Huber tripping call in the series opener against the Black Bears and an Ivana Bilic slash in the second period of Nov. 18’s tilt against North Dakota. The Beavers are the third-least penalized team in the nation with just 6.6 penalty minutes per game. Only Harvard and Quinnipiac (6.3 and 6.4, respectively) have less.

Iron Women
On Nov. 18 against North Dakota, senior Erika Wheelhouse missed a game for the first time in her collegiate career after playing 111 in a row. Fellow seniors Sadie Lundquist and MacKenzie Thurston have played in 114 of 114 possible college games. On BSU, only redshirt seniors Emily Erickson and Abby Williams (120 each) have played more, but both players have missed games. The only other players on the team not to have missed a career game are freshmen Kaitlyn Tougas, Hanna Moher, and Megan Lushanko, who have played in all 14 games in their first year this year.

Opponent Scoring
Minnesota State’s Lauren Smith became the third player to record a hat trick against the Beavers Saturday. She also scored the third shorthanded goal against BSU in 2012-13.

Seniors Leading the Way
Bemidji State’s senior class has led the way so far in points this season, scoring 30 of the team’s 66 points (45.5 percent). Second on the list are the freshmen, who have 15 total points. The sophomore class is next with 14 points, while the juniors (five players, all of whom are defensemen) have seven.

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. BSU finished its nonconference schedule with a 1-2-1 record and will play its final 22 (18 remaining) games of the year against WCHA foes.

Player of the Week
After a two-point weekend against Maine, Kaitlyn Tougas was named the WCHA Rookie of the Week two weeks ago. The last BSU player to earn a conference player of the week honor was Montana Vichorek, who took home the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week award for the week of Feb. 22, 2012. Rachael Kelly was the last Beaver to receive a WCHA weekly top rookie honor when she won it for the second time in her freshman campaign on Jan. 11, 2012. Tougas is seventh among WCHA rookies in scoring.

U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game
Three weeks ago, 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 moved to 2-2-0 in the annual event that is played at the Eveleth Hippodrome in Eveleth, Minn. In three all-time exhibition contests against the Whitecaps, BSU is 2-1-0.

With a 1-0 loss to St. Cloud on Oct. 13 and a 1-0 win against Wisconsin the following 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.

Two Months Down
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. In November, the Beavers went 1-4-1 this season after going 4-3-0 in 2011.

Preseason Picks
After a sixth-place finish in 2011-12, the Beavers were slotted in the same spot in the WCHA Coaches Poll. BSU, which was tabbed behind Ohio State by the coaches, was picked ahead of the Buckeyes for a fifth-place finish in the’s season preview. 

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-10 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. BSU recorded at least one win against every squad it faced except regular-season champion Wisconsin. The Beavers also finished 6-0-1 in nonconference play.