Yes, it’s been nearly two weeks. I apologize. The new Beach House album came out. I got lost in it. Good stuff here. You’ll like it.
In real sports news: The BSU women unveiled their 2012-13 schedule Thursday. As alluded to in the title of this post, there’s not much change on the schedule (which you can see in its entirety right here).
The Beavers have two non-conference series: at Providence and home against Maine. This is exactly the opposite as last season, when they hosted the Friars and traveled to Maine. BSU scored 13 goals in the four games and came away with a nonconference record of 3-0-1.
Granted, neither Maine nor Providence tore up Hockey East last season. In fact, both the Black Bears and the Friars finished in the middle of the table with exactly the same amount of points (24) and identical 11-8-2 conference records. In fact, they might be the same team: Providence was 16-17-4 overall while Maine was 17-11-6.
In other words, both teams last year were much like BSU was in the WCHA: Pesky, good teams that can beat anyone but don’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of the Minnesotas and Boston Colleges of the world.
It’s hard to say if either team will improve BSU’s nonconference RPI this season, should it come to that.
Of course, the WCHA is unquestionably the toughest women’s conference in the country. We all know this. And BSU’s schedule will once again be a meat grinder, so it may be difficult for the Beavers to make their first-ever NCAA tourney appearance.
And the conference schedule is so similar that there’s not even that much to break down: Minnesota are the defending champs. Wisconsin are the defending runners-up. North Dakota made its first-ever NCAA Tourney and beat BSU five out of six times last season. Minnesota-Duluth is Minnesota-Duluth.
There are a few intriguing dates on the schedule. The Beavers will help open Wisconsin’s new arena (LaBahn Arena) Oct. 19.Home games against Minnesota, Duluth and UND are always fun, too. They’ll also play another exhibition game in Elveth against the Minnesota Whitecaps – featuring former Beaver Jenny Schnickel – in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Face-Off Classic.
It’s hard to say (without having seen the team yet… I’m the new guy, remember?) just what this schedule looks like for BSU next season, especially without All-America goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova. But who knows? In hockey, any team can get hot at any time, and the Beavers have a number of experienced players returning in forward Sadie Lundquist, forward Emily Erickson and defender Erika Wheelhouse.
Is this the year the make their NCAA Tournament debut? I’m not sure. It will be tough, but it’ll be fun to watch – especially now that we know how they’re going to have to get there.