BEMIDJI, Minn. - The Bemidji State University women’s ice hockey team lifts the lid on its 2014-15 season this weekend as it travels to Pittsburgh, Pa. to face-off against Robert Morris University. The series is not only the first of the season for the Beavers, but it is also the first for their new head coach, Jim Scanlan.
Scouting the Beavers
Scanlan inherits a team that went 11-21-4 overall and 8-17-3 in league play last season. BSU returns 19 players from last season’s roster, while welcoming six new players into the fold for the 2014-15 campaign.
The Beavers will not only have sheer numbers but it will also have a wealth of experience returning as eight players have appeared in at least 60 games during their respective careers. Kaitlyn Tougas (F, Jr., Thunder Bay, Ontario) leads the returning skaters as she after posting a team-high points (22), assists (14) and was tied for the team-lead in goals (8).
In goal, sophomore Brittni Mowat (Glenboro, Manitoba) will look to build upon a freshman campaign last season, in which she received a spot on the All-WCHA Rookie Team. Mowat broke multiple program records for freshman net minders including wins (10), games (33), minutes (1888:34), goals against average (2.45) and save percentage (.918).
Scouting the Robert Morris
Robert Morris looks to take another step forward this season under fourth-year head coach Paul Colontiono. Last season Colontino guided the Colonials to a school record 24 wins (24-8-3) and their first appearance in the national polls.
The Colonial’s success last season can be traced to its defense and special teams play. RMU was one of nine teams in the nation to allow an average of less than two goals per game (1.77). In addition, the Colonials’ penalty-killing unit ranked fifth nationally with a percentage of 88.3.
Robert Morris brings back five All-CHA players from last season, including unanimous selections, forward Rebecca Vint and goaltender Jessica Dodds. Vint led RMU with 41 points (24g, 17a) and Dodds went 21-5-3 in her freshman season with a 1.66 goals against average.
The WCHA coaches conducted their annual preseason poll and the Beavers were slotted to finish seventh in the very competitive WCHA. It is the second consecutive season that BSU has been picked to finish seventh.
BSU’s schedule has always been a difficult one and that trend will continue in 2014-15. Bemidji State will have 18 of its 34 games against teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the USCHO.com Preseason Poll.
In addition to its series against Robert Morris, BSU will also face University of Vermont, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Lindenwood University in non-conference action this season. Last season BSU went 3-2-1 in non-conference games.
Starting out on the right foot
Bemidji State has a mark of 6-8-2 in its season openers. However, the Beavers are 3-0-1 in the last four seasons on opening day.
Head Coach Jim Scanlan will coach his first games for his alma mater this weekend, as he replaces the retiring Steve Sertich. Coach Scanlan was an All-American goaltender for the Beavers and helped them win a pair of national championships. Prior to taking the post at BSU, Scanlan spent the past six seasons as the head coach of girl’s hockey at East Grand Forks high school compiling a record of 110-51-6. Scanlan has also been an assistant coach on the men’s side at University of North Dakota, Western Michigan University, Northern Michigan University.
The Beavers currently have three transfers on its roster: Kristine Grenier, Stephanie Anderson (F, RS-Jr., North St. Paul, Minn.) and Bailey Wright (F, R-So., Anchorage, Alaska) and two of them (Grenier and Anderson) are captains on this year’s team. Grenier came to BSU from Mercyhurst University, while Anderson and Wright came from University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Duluth, respectively.
From the land of 10,000 frozen lakes
BSU has a definite Minnesota prescence on this season’s roster with 13 of the 25 players are originally from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Stellar in goal
Despite being sophomore, Brittni Mowat already is sixth in BSU program history with 10 victories. Mowat currently has a career record of 10-18-4.
Robert Morris series
Bemidji State is 5-3 all-time versus the Colonials, but RMU won both meetings last season in Bemidji, Minn. by scores of 2-1 and 3-0.
On the road again
Last season Bemidji State was 5-9-4 away from home, and they were 1-0-1 when it played in the eastern time zone.
Seven of Bemidji State’s 11 wins last season came when it scored the first goal. Overall, BSU had a mark of 7-3-1 when it lit the lamp first, but 4-18-3 when it did not.
For more information on the Bemidji State University women’s hockey program follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BeaverWoHockey or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers), or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).