Beavers return home to face Minnesota State
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Beavers return home to face Minnesota State

Minnesota State (8-11-3, 4-9-3-1 WCHA)
at Bemidji State (4-14-2, 3-12-1-0 WCHA)

Fri., Jan. 11, 2012, 7 p.m. (CT)
Sat., Jan. 12, 2012, 4 p.m. (CT)
 Sanford Center (4,373), Bemidji, Minn.
Series History:
 Series tied 23-23-10

Last Time Out
In its first series in the new year, Bemidji State salvaged a two-game split against St. Cloud State on the road. In the first game, SCSU scored the only goal in the first two periods, but Natasha Kostenko and Kristin Huber scored 29 seconds apart to take a 2-1 third period lead. Later in the frame, the Huskies responded similarly by scoring twice in 49 seconds before adding a last-minute empty-netter for a 4-2 final. The Beavers came back Saturday to earn their first win of 2013. All the scoring was done in the second period as Allie Duellman scored her first goal in over two years and Emily Erickson made it 2-0 just over six minutes later. In the third, senior goaltender Jessica Havel stopped all 10 shots she saw to complete her first career shutout.

BSU vs. Minnesota State
Bemidji State and MSU have split 56 all-time meetings, going 23-23-10. The Beavers earned a 4-3 win in the season series opener in November, but Minnesota State took the weekend finale, 4-1. BSU is 10-10-7 at home versus MSU.

About the Mavericks

After a hot start during which it vaulted into the national rankings, Minnesota State went 2-9-1 in its final 12 games before winter break, but rebounded with 6-0 and 6-1 wins against Lindenwood last week. The Mavericks are led by senior Lauren Smith’s 16 goals and 26 points. The senior forward notched a hat trick and an assist in the last meeting between Bemidji State and MSU. Behind Smith are Tracy McCann (11g-7a) and Kathleen Rogan (5g-10a) with 18 and 15 points, respectively. Between the pipes, Danielle Butters has started all 22 games, going 8-11-3 with a 2.55 goals against average, .925 save percentage, and four shutouts.

Big Win in St. Cloud
Last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over St. Cloud snapped a six-game, 44-day losing streak for Bemidji State. The win was the Beavers’ first by more than one goal on the season and it was their first Saturday win of the season after starting the year 0-7-1 on that day of the week. Prior to the season series finale, BSU hadn’t scored a goal in the first two periods of a game against SCSU, but Allie Duellman and Erickson both notched second-period goals. On the weekend, Natasha Kostenko scored in both games and now has points in four of her last five games. Also of note, BSU won 70 of 114 (61.4 percent) of faceoffs, led by Emily Erickson’s 82.6 percent (19 for 23) success rate, and Erika Wheelhouse blocked eight shots and leads the Beavers with 84 on the season.

Duellman Makes a Difference

Playing in her fifth and sixth games of the season last weekend, junior defender Allie Duellman made an impact. Duellman scored the eventual game-winning goal Saturday, her first since Nov. 26, 2010, and had a +1 rating in each game. Duellman has a team-best +4 rating in 2012-13. The Beavers are 2-3-1 when she is in the lineup and are 1-0-1 when she records a point.

Let’s Start the Show Proper, Shall We?
Though Bemidji State is 4-14-2 on the season, the team is 3-3-1 in games in which it scores first. The Beavers have carried leads into the third period five times this season and are 2-2-1 when doing so. BSU scored first last Saturday against St. Cloud State and went on to win 2-0.

Defensive Player of the Week
In her first appearance since setting a career-high in saves with 35 against No. 1 Minnesota, Jessica Havel posted her first career shutout with 21 saves at St. Cloud State. Her performance earned her WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors, making her the second BSU player be recognized by the league this season. Kaitlyn Tougas won the WCHA Rookie of the Week Nov. 9-10. She is the first Beaver to win Defensive Player of the Week since Montana Vichorek won it the week of Feb. 22, 2012. Vichorek followed fellow 2011-12 senior Zuzana Tomcikova, the last BSU goaltender to win it. In road starts, Havel is 3-1-0 with a 2.18 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.

Road Warriors
Though BSU struggled in the first half of the season, the team was able to win or tie half of its eight road games, going 3-4-1. The Beavers beat Providence, Wisconsin, and Minnesota State away from home and also posted a tie against the Badgers in the same series. Bemidji State kept the trend going last weekend with a split at St. Cloud State. BSU is 0-9-1 at home and hasn’t won a game at the Sanford Center since it topped then-No. 9 Minnesota Duluth 2-0 Feb. 11, 2012. BSU is 17-20-4 all-time in its new arena but was 17-10-4 there prior to 2012-13.

The Loneliest Number
In its final series of the first half of the season, Bemidji State was only able to muster one goal against No. 1 Minnesota. It was the second time this season BSU was held to one goal in a two-game weekend series. Last weekend’s opponent, St. Cloud State, topped BSU 3-1 in the Beavers’ home and WCHA opener Oct. 12 before winning 1-0 in the series finale, but the Beavers found the back of the net four time last week in the series rematch.

Iron Women

Seniors Sadie Lundquist and MacKenzie Thurston have played in 120 of 120 possible college games. On BSU’s roster, only redshirt seniors Emily Erickson and Abby Williams (128 each) have played more, but both players have missed games. 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. The only other player on the team not to have missed a career game is Megan Lushanko, who has played in all 20 games in their first year this year. Fellow first-year players Kaitlyn Tougas (missed both games) and Hanna Moher (missed Saturday) missed their first games last weekend.

Seniors Leading the Way
Bemidji State’s senior class has led the way so far in points this season, scoring 36 of the team’s 87 points (41.4 percent). Second on the list are the sophomores, which have 23 total points. The freshman class is next with 20 points, while the juniors (five players, all of whom are defensemen) have eight.

Thinking Outside the Box
Thanks in large part to a penalty-free game against Hockey East’s Maine, BSU went 110:49 without a penalty during a stretch in November between a Kristin Huber tripping call in the series opener against the Black Bears and an Ivana Bilic slash in the second period of a Nov. 18 tilt against North Dakota. After a four-penalty weekend in St. Cloud, the Beavers are the second-least penalized team in the nation with just 7.3 penalty minutes per game. Only Quinnipiac (6.0 penalty minutes per game) has less.

On the Docket
Bemidji State’s schedule in 2012 was a tough one and it doesn’t get any easier with the start of the new year. Cumulatively in 2012-13, the Beavers are slated to play 16 games against teams with recognition in the current national poll and still has a series against every WCHA team (except St. Cloud State) to go. BSU finished its nonconference schedule with a 1-2-1 record and will play its final 22 (12 remaining) games of the year against WCHA foes. The Beavers are now 2-7-1 on the year against teams with recognition in the national rankings at the time of the game.

Flipping the Calendar
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. Bemidji State lost all four of its games—all at home—in December against Minnesota Duluth and No. 1 Minnesota and finished the first half of the season at 3-13-2. The Beavers went 8-23-3 during the 2012 calendar year.

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.

First-half Notes
The first half of Bemidji State’s season included some highs and lows. Despite its 3-13-2 record, BSU did become the first team to score (with a Kristin Huber goal) and win at Wisconsin’s brand-new LaBahn Arena. Abby Ryplanski pitched a shutout in a 1-0 victory Oct. 19. The Beavers also recorded their first-ever win the day following U.S. Thanksgiving with a Nov. 23 triumph over Minnesota State. The Beavers were previously 0-5-2 in such games. BSU also posted its first third-period comeback since Nov. 5, 2005 when it rallied to top Providence 3-2 Oct. 5 in the season-opener and had its first penalty-free game since Nov. 4, 2011 in a 2-2 tie Nov. 10 Maine. Also in the first half, Alex Ehlert, Kayleigh Chapman, Megan Lushanko, Kaitlyn Tougas, Hanna Moher, Ivana Bilic, and Lauren Merkley also recorded first career goals and every player on the roster saw playing time in at least one game.

U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game
BSU played in its fourth U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Face Off Classic Nov 1. 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. 2-1-0 in exhibition games against the Whitecaps.

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.