BEMIDJI -- Senior weekend may be a little more bittersweet than usual for Bemidji State women’s hockey coach Jim Scanlan this weekend.
The Beavers’ head coach arrived on campus at the same time as this year’s senior class. With the exception of redshirt senior goaltender Erin Deters, the team’s other five seniors -- Reilly Fawcett, Bailey Wright, Emma Terres, Alexis Joyce and Summer Thibodeau -- have spent their whole careers at BSU under the guidance of Scanlan since he took over the program before the 2014-15 season. The group will be honored in BSU’s final home series of the regular season this weekend against St. Cloud State.
“It’s a pretty special class, no question,” Scanlan said. “We all came together, other than (Deters). She was a redshirt freshman by first year, but the rest of them all came here at the same time I did. Time’s flown by, and I’m sure they’ll tell you the same thing. I can’t believe that we’re finishing our fourth year together.”
Wright also redshirted upon transferring from Minnesota Duluth prior to 2014-15 to become part of this year’s seniors.
“Some of my best friends for life are from this class,” Joyce said. “...The addition of Bailey and Deters because of redshirt years is just an added bonus because those two are great girls and I wouldn’t want another five girls to be with.”
Joyce played a pivotal part in last Saturday’s 5-3 road win over Minnesota State. The Lakeville native scored BSU’s first goal and posted three assists, including one on the game-winning goal, to force a series split with the Mavericks. Her four-point output made her the second-highest scoring defenseman in program history with 78 career points (21g-57a).
The win came on the heels of a 3-1 loss last Friday that gave the Beavers more urgency in the series finale.
“We were playing a lot more simple,” Joyce said. “Friday night we were trying to make these cute, little fancy plays right over the blue line, being too cute around our blue line and had way too many turnovers…. I think that was a big difference -- we got pucks deep, made them go 200 feet with the puck, which is hard to do against us because we do focus on our defense.”
The Beavers are still chasing Minnesota Duluth for the final first-round home ice playoff spot. BSU is a point behind the Bulldogs for fourth place with four games remaining in the season for each squad.
“We know where we’re at, obviously, in terms of where we sit in the league,” Scanlan said. “I told the group yesterday all we could now is we just take care of our own business and we see what happens.”
The Beavers (13-14-3, 8-10-2-1 WCHA) will host the Huskies (6-18-5, 4-14-4-1 WCHA) at 7:07 tonight and 3:07 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10 with a chance to pull ahead in the standings. BSU swept SCSU in November at St. Cloud, but fell 4-0 in a road non-conference game later that month.
Goalie Janine Alder has had a hand in the team’s 3-4-3 uptick since the start of January, though the sophomore will miss the series as she is competing with the Swiss Olympic team in Korea.
“They’ve been playing really good hockey since the break,” Scanlan said. “I think the biggest thing is both goaltenders are playing extremely well…. (Emma) Polusny will probably be playing both nights, but she’s been playing very, very well.”
The Beavers know they will have to be at their best to gain ground this weekend.
“We’re going to have to be at the top of our game and we know we’re going to have our hands full with St. Cloud,” Scanlan said.