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Bemidji State women's hockey team looking forward to BREC opener vs. Mercyhurst

Bemidji?State head coach Steve Sertich addresses the team after Wednesday's practice. Pioneer?Photo/Eric Stromgren

Bemidji State defenseman Montana Vichorek is looking forward to this weekend's home-opening series against Mercyhurst.

Of course today's game isn't just any home opener.

The BSU women will play in the first official college hockey game at the Bemidji Regional Event Center at 2:07 p.m. Friday and will conclude the series at Saturday 2:07 p.m. Saturday. Tickets remain available for the women's series this weekend and are available at the BREC box office.

"I don't think we have the butterflies yet," Vichorek said. "We're excited to play in this amazing arena and we hope a lot of people will come out to watch us play. Hopefully we can use the strong home crowd behind us to play well and use that to our advantage."

Bemidji State will have its hands full against Mercyhurst, which was elevated to the No. 1 position in the latest USCHO Division I women's national poll.

The Lakers are led by Canadian gold medal-winner Meghan Agosta, who was the MVP of the women's hockey tournament at the Vancouver Olympics.

"It's going to be interesting," Bemidji State head coach Steve Sertich said. "Agosta is a notch above everyone else in college hockey and we're going to have to keep an eye on her."

Bemidji State is coming off a road sweep in the WCHA opening series against Wisconsin, a team Sertich considers as one of the top five in college hockey. The Beavers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first game only to lose 7-1 and lost the second game 2-0.

"One of the encouraging things about last weekend is that we got better as the weekend went on," Sertich said. "We're going to have to play better defensively in our end (against Mercyhurst) because they are going to put a lot of pressure on us. We're going to have to play well on full strength and win the one-on-one battles."

The Beavers defense will be tested and will look to rally around goalie Zuzana Tomcikova, who played in the Olympics last season for Slovakia.

Bemidji State hopes to improve on last year's result against Mercyhurst: 4-1 and 6-1 losses in Erie.

"They're a good, strong team but I think we have the players on our team that can skate with them," Vichorek said. "The good teams out there, they're not going to feel bad for you and you can't play scared. It's okay to respect them but you don't have to fear them. The big thing is we can't let up on them and we have to stay aggressive."