Maverick hockey will be put to the test against No. 5 Duluth

The Minnesota State women’s hockey team is headed back home from their road trip to Massachusetts for their matchup against Minnesota Duluth this weekend. The Mavericks walked away from their two-game series against Merrimack College unscathed, coming back to Mankato with an overall record of 2-0. 

The Mavs are now set to play their first home series of the year against the Bulldogs, and their first interconference matches as well. The Bulldogs come into this game with no previous games played this season.

We did get to see these teams play last year despite COVID restrictions, where Minnesota Duluth took care of the Mavericks in a 4-0 season sweep. The Bulldogs heavily outscored the Mavericks in the beginning of the season series, by a margin of 12-3. 

The same did not hold true for the remaining two games, where each game was decided by a one goal margin. It will be difficult to know what to expect from both teams this weekend with such a small sample size on the season, but we should be in for a great matchup nonetheless.

Duluth has also not lost to Minnesota State since the 2016-17 season, despite several games ending in a tie in that stretch. The Mavericks will look to end that streak this weekend.

There is not much separation in points leaders only two games into the season, but junior defenseman Charlotte Akervik leads Minnesota State in points with five. Akervik is doing so with one goal and four assists while also leading the team in plus-minus at +8.

There is a four-way tie for second place in points on the team for the Mavs, but senior forward Brooke Bryant is the team leader in goals this season with three. Bryant also has one assist on the season and holds a plus-minus of plus three. 

Between the pipes stands junior Calla Frank. Frank only played in one of the two games this past weekend, but seems to be the clear cut first option at goaltender for the Mavs.

Frank has not let in a goal this season after seeing 16 shots in her first appearance. Behind Frank is sophomore goaltender Lauren Barbro, who played in game two of the two game series against Merrimack this past weekend.

Barbro faced 30 shots against the Warriors, saving 27 of them, good enough to hold a .900 save percentage to start the season, and Barbro looks to be a great second option for the Mavericks if needed.

We will see if the Mavericks stick with their tandem goaltending, or stick to Frank as the lone starter.

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