This weekend marks the start of the 21-22 women’s college hockey season. The Minnesota State women’s hockey team is set to play their first two-game series this Friday and Saturday Sept. 24-25 against Merrimack College.
Last season was not the greatest of seasons for the Mavericks as they finished the season 7-12-1, falling several games under .500 and never gaining momentum throughout the season. However, the Mavs have high hopes in starting off the season with two wins for the first time since 2019.
Last season was tough for all college hockey teams, as they were one of the few sports who were able to have a season, but it came with its highs and lows.
COVID-19 cases still ran through college teams throughout the country, and it was hard to focus on improving as a team week to week when there were so many distractions.
Teams never knew if they would be competing in their next game, or if they would be competing with all their teammates at once week to week.
Although it was a tough year, the Minnesota State women’s hockey team is ready to put their 2020-21 season in their past and move on to bigger and better accomplishments this season.
Women’s hockey coach John Harrington spoke on the difficulties of last season, and what he hopes his team will accomplish this season.
“We need to try and generate more offense… I believe we have players that can do that. If you’re doing that and controlling the game, you’re helping your defense and relieving pressure on that group,” Harrington said.
The Minnesota State women’s hockey team also returns two of their team captains Brittyn Flemming and Jess Kondas, as well as WCHA Rookie of the Year forward, Jamie Nelson. Coach Harrington had high praise for his returning senior captains saying, “They give us skill and experience at their positions. They also bring great leadership vocally and by example.”
Returning some of the team’s important pieces from the previous season will help this Mavericks team compete in what Harrington proclaims to be, “the best conference in the country by a mile” in the WCHA.
“Our girls come and play in the WCHA because they know they are going to play against the top competition in the country… As coaches, we expect our team to play with effort,” Harrington said.
“We go into each game with the same preparation as we do against any other team in the league.” Coach Harrington was quick to explain the challenge it is to play in the WCHA, but it is something he likes his team to tackle head on and not back down from.
The Minnesota State Mavericks first two games of the season come against a non-conference opponent in Merrimack College, a team the Mavericks have not played since 2019. As a non-conference opponent and a team that Minnesota State has not played in a few years, Merrimack brings unfamiliar challenges to this Mavericks team.
“When not playing a team for an extended period of time,” coach Harrington explained, “we are working on a lot as a team… As a team we are going to go into the game looking at what they are doing and we are going to attack using the things we do to the best of our ability.”