BEMIDJI – This weekend’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association series against North Dakota certainly isn’t “do-or-die” for the Bemidji State women’s hockey team. After all, it’s only November and there’s still plenty of season remaining.
But the Beavers (2-6-2, 1-4-1 WCHA) come into this weekend’s series with UND (5-5, 4-4) badly needing some points following a four-game winless streak. The teams are scheduled to meet Saturday and Sunday afternoon at Sanford Center; both games are scheduled to start at 2:07 p.m.
“North Dakota presents a new challenge,” BSU head coach Steve Sertich said of UND, which is ranked No. 10 in the latest USCHO.com poll and features United States Olympians Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux.
The Lamoureux twins have combined for 23 of UND’s points, and Jocelyne is in the top 10 in the nation with 11 goals.
“Any time you have two, three Olympians it presents a big challenge,” Sertich said. “The Lamoureux twins are two of the best players in our league; I think one of them has more goals than our entire team. So we’ll have our hands full dealing with them.”
That’s not entirely true: The Beavers have scored 16 goals as a team this season. But Sertich’s point was that the Beavers are in desperate need of reliable goal-producers.
That was evident last weekend against Maine. The Beavers had a combined 98 shots against the Black Bears in both games – including 60 last Friday – but only managed five goals.
Maine won 4-3 Friday night then came back to tie Saturday night’s game before winning a shootout 3-2.
Both times, BSU had the lead going into the third period.
“Overall we were happy with our play against Maine,” Sertich said. “We threw almost a hundred shots on goal in those two games. We did a lot of things well offensively, we just didn’t finish.
“So it was disappointing in that respect. It was a letdown on Friday and a couple letdowns on Saturday that it cost us the game.”
Lauren Merkley and Hanna Moher each scores for the first time this season against Maine, while seniors Sadie Lundquist and Emily Erickson got some production on the same line. But Sertich still wants to see more from his team.
“It was good in the fact that we’re getting some scoring from some people we weren’t necessarily counting on,” he said. “Now we have to get some more scoring from people that we have been counting on. What was frustrating was we had a lot of shots but we had a tough time getting it past their goaltender. She was a good goalie but we have to score.”
The Beavers would also like to make the most of being back at the Sanford Center. They’ve had a tough time in Bemidji this season, going 0-3-1 in four games at home.
Getting even a couple points here would do BSU a whole lot of good, especially with games against Minnesota State, Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota on the horizon.
“It’s nice to be home. I hope we can be more successful here,” Sertich said. “We haven’t won a game here yet, but the timing would be good. We need some points if we want to stay in the hunt.
“We just can’t get too far behind.”