Women’s hockey looks to stay rolling against No. 5 UMD

Despite losing to No. 4 Minnesota on Jan. 14, the Minnesota State women’s hockey team has been on a tear ever since. The Mavericks have only played in three games since their blowout loss to the Gophers on Jan. 14, but have seemed to find their stride as they have won three straight.

Jan. 15 marked a historic date for the women’s program, where they snapped a 53-game losing streak to the Gophers in overtime 5-4. The team has been riding the high of the win ever since, most recently sweeping a new WCHA foe in St. Thomas. 

The Mavericks took game one of the series in St. Paul 4-1, and came back home to Mankato for their Hockey Day Minnesota game at Blakeslee Stadium. The Mavs defeated UST once again on the outdoor rink, capturing a 3-1 victory before heading into their away series against Minnesota Duluth this weekend. 

With their final win over the Tommies, MSU moved back above .500 for the first time since Nov. of 2021 with an overall record of 12-11-1. 

The Bulldogs come into the series ranked No. 5 in the most recent USCHO Women’s Poll behind a 14-8-0 record. The Mavs have not received a vote in the USCHO Poll since the new year, but with a win or sweep over the Bulldogs this weekend they could prove themselves worthy of consideration. 

The two teams played earlier in the season as a part of Duluth’s first two games of the year, where the opponents split the series in Mankato. The Bulldogs won the first game of the series handedly 7-0, but the Mavs turned it around in game two to split the series with a 4-2 victory. 

The Mavericks and Bulldogs sit right next to each other in the WCHA standings, with Duluth at No. 4 and Minnesota State at No. 5. The Bulldogs have a seven point lead over the Mavericks, but that could be erased to one point with two regulation wins by the Mavs this weekend. 

If Duluth pulls off the sweep, they would come closer to the No. 3 spot which is currently held by Wisconsin. 

The most recent WCHA Defenseman of the Week Charlotte Akervik has been great for the Mavericks all season.  The junior defenseman is having one of her best seasons this year and currently sits third for Mavericks’ scoring with 21 points on seven goals and 14 assists. 

Junior forward Kelsey King is also having a great year and is sitting second in scoring for MSU with 26 points. King has a team-high 13 goals to go along with her 13 assists. King has become a prominent scoring threat within the WCHA and will look to add onto her total this weekend. 

The current MSU scoring leader is senior center Brittyn Fleming, who was the first Maverick to reach the 30-point mark this season behind her 11 goals and team-leading 19 assists. 

The Bulldogs come into the series with one of the best lines in Division I women’s hockey, which is led by senior forward Gabbie Hughes. Hughes has a monstrous 40 points on the year through 22 games played, which tallies out into 14 goals and 26 assists. 

Fifth-year seniors Elizabeth Giguere and Anna Klein come in second and third in Bulldog’s scoring, with 37 and 33 points respectively. Klein presents herself as the scoring threat of the team with a team-leading 16 goals, while Giguere has collected 26 assists.

Header Photo: Charlotte Akervik (8) received WCHA honors vs UST.

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