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BSU women unveil schedule

BEMIDJI - Seventeen regular-season home contests and 12 games against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams highlight the 2012-13 Bemidji State women's hockey schedule, released Thursday.

The Beavers officially kick off the 15th season in the program's history Oct. 5 and 6 with a trip to Providence. The teams met at Sanford Center a year ago for a series during which BSU held the Friars to just one goal and escaped with a win and a tie.

Bemidji State's home opener is scheduled for Oct. 12 and 13 against St. Cloud State. That will kick off the Beavers' 28-game WCHA schedule.

The Beavers' tough conference schedule includes four games each with tournament teams Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.

The Beavers will travel to Wisconsin early in the season, where they'll help open the Badgers' new LaBahn Arena Oct. 19 and 21.

The Badgers were the national runners-up last season.

The Beavers are also set to take on last season's national champion Minnesota. The Gophers will visit the Sanford Center Dec. 7 and 8 and the Beavers will travel to the Twin Cities Feb. 15 and 16. BSU went 1-2-1 against the Gophers last season.

The other 2012 NCAA tournament team on the docket is North Dakota, which beat the Beavers five out of six times last year.

Aside from Providence, BSU's nonconference schedule features a home series against Maine at the Sanford Center. The Beavers swept the Black Bears in their series in Orono, Maine.

BSU will also play an exhibition game Nov. 1 in Eveleth as part of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Face-Off Classic. It marks the Beavers' fourth appearance in the game; they'll take on the Minnesota Whitecaps.

The best-of-three, first round of the WCHA Playoffs will be played on campus sites March 1-3. First-round winners advance to the WCHA Final Face-Off at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis March 8-9, where an automatic bid to the NCAA awaits the 2013 champion.

Bemidji State finished last season 17-17-3, a new program record for wins in a season.