BEMIDJI – The Bemidji State women’s hockey team hopes it can find something positive in this weekend’s road series at Minnesota State Mankato.
The Beavers (2-8-2, 1-6-1 WCHA) haven’t won since their upset of ranked Wisconsin in Madison Oct. 19. Since then, it’s been seven straight without a win (not counting their exhibition victory against the Whitecaps two weeks ago).
“It’s always hard when you don’t win games,” BSU head coach Steve Sertich said.
Sertich might have been stating the obvious, but his point was that the Beavers have shined at certain moments this season but haven’t really played a complete game.
BSU forward Emily Erickson – who notched the first two goals of her senior year in last weekend’s series against North Dakota – noticed it too.
“I think we just need to get into that Beaver hockey mindset where we’re winning some battles and getting gritty on the ice,” she said. “Everyone should be in that mindset and we need to do it for 60 minutes of the game. We haven’t done that much this season.”
Last Sunday’s game against UND was the perfect example.
The Beavers outshot UND 10-8 in the first period and the teams went into the first intermission tied at 1-1.
In the second frame, BSU’s Mackenzie Thurston scored on a miracle goal from center ice, putting BSU up 2-1 for a brief minute.
UND evened the score a minute later. The UND scored again. And again. And again.
North Dakota scored six straight times in the second period and beat the Beavers 7-3.
“You just have to find a way to put together a 60-minute game,” Sertich said. “We need to play well without the puck. (On Sunday) we turned over the puck more than I can remember here in the past couple years. From top to bottom we turned it over so many times. We just have to do a better job taking care of it.”
Sertich said the Beavers did get a few power play goals last weekend, which was nice. But they need to pick up their scoring if they expect to win.
“We haven’t scored goals like we did last year,” he said. “At least we got a couple on our power play on Sunday, which was good. But we need to play 60 minutes and get back to where we were.”
After 12 games, the Beavers have only found the back of the net a league-worst 20 times. Thurston, Sadie Lundquist and Natasha Kostenko are tied for the team lead with three goals each.
Minnesota State, this weekend’s opponent, has scored just two more times (22).
The Mavericks are 4-8-2 overall and 2-6-2-1 in league play. However, much like the Beavers, the Mavs are itching for a win. They’ve lost six straight.
That could mean a low-scoring series, depending on how the goaltending holds up for both squads.
“They’re a tough team,” Sertich said. “They always play us tough, I know that. They’re a lot like us as far as skilled forwards. They usually have solid D and good goaltending, so it will be a dogfight down there. Last time we played it was close, so it will probably be a one-goal game either way.”
The teams are scheduled to face off at 7:07 p.m. today before returning to the ice for a 3:07 p.m. matinee Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato.