Bemidji State travels to No. 1 Wisconsin in women's hockey
The Bemidji State women's hockey team earned one point in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings last week on the road against nationally No. 2 ranked Minnesota.
Considering BSU was the second team to get a point out of Ridder Arena this season, the point was cause for good feelings this week at the Sanford Center.
"They're a top team in our division, so for us to stay with them two games and to battle back when we were down - I thought our girls played great," BSU captain Marlee Wheelhouse said. "To play great against a team like that in their rink is good for us confidence-wise going into another series against a top-ranked team."
Up next is a road trip to Madison to face No. 1 ranked Wisconsin, which swept the Beavers 3-1 and 6-1 at the Sanford Center in December. Game times are Friday and Saturday at 7:07 p.m.
Wisconsin is the only other team to get standings points against Minnesota in Minneapolis this season.
"If everyone comes to play, Z(uzana Tomcikova) has another great weekend and we're able to produce some goals, I think it will be a good weekend for us," Wheelhouse said. "Obviously they are one of the better teams in the nation. I think we're going to have to fight hard and have as few mistakes as possible."
Unranked BSU received seven votes in the latest national poll and enters the series 14-10 (8-10-2-0). WCHA-leading Wisconsin is 22-2-2 (16-2-2-1 WCHA).
The second half of the season has been a bag of mixed results for BSU, which lost home games to Minnesota State University, Mankato and Ohio State in January. But the 3-2 loss and 3-3 tie/shootout loss last weekend to Minnesota has head coach Steve Sertich feeling upbeat.
"I'm really pleased with how hard and how well we played at Minnesota, and I know we're going to be up against the same situation in Madison," he said. "I'm really confident this team can do it (win) because they had a tremendous weekend to be able to do that two nights in a row."
Saturday night is Wisconsin's 'Fill the Bowl' event at Kohl Center and the school is selling $1 tickets in hopes of breaking the women's college hockey attendance record of 10,668 set at last year's event.
"I think we've usually played good when there is a big crowd," Wheelhouse said. "It's going to be to their advantage being their home rink and a big ice sheet with a lot of their fans, but for us it's nice to be in front of a big crowd. Hopefully we'll take advantage of it, play well, give them a run for their money and come out on top."