Heading into the weekend the Minnesota State women’s hockey team has been on a roll, first by making history in Minneapolis where they snapped the Gophers’ 53 game win streak, then followed by a series sweep over St. Thomas. With the three game winning streak, the Mavericks moved above .500 for the first time since November but were faced with a tough challenge in Duluth this past weekend.
The Mavs split the series earlier this season with Duluth on home ice, but would now have to travel north to the No. 5 Bulldogs’ arena to extend their streak. The Bulldogs came into the series most recently splitting their series with No. 2 Ohio State and would come in with confidence in battling the unranked Mavericks.
As the teams opened the first period, Duluth was able to get on the scoreboard first just five minutes into the contest with a goal from Taylor Anderson. Minnesota State tied the game however, with junior forward Kennedy Bobyck picking up a rebound and zipping the puck to the top corner of the Bulldog net to settle the score at 1-1.
With Bobyck’s goal came an assist from Brittyn Fleming which marked her 100 career point which makes her the second women’s hockey player in MSU history to reach the century mark. Fleming joins Maggie Fisher on the list who totaled 109 points in her career.
Despite the Mavs’ goal, the tie at one did not last long. UMD’s Elizabeth Giguere reclaimed the Bulldog lead just 54 seconds later on the power play at the 12:12 mark of the first. As the first came to a close all seemed to be done before Duluth’s Clara Van Wieren snuck a goal under MSU goaltender Calla Frank with two-tenths of a second left to go up two.
Although they trailed after the first, the Mavericks held the lead in shots 16-7. The Mavs were the only ones to tally a goal in the second period, as junior forward Kelsey King found senior center Fleming on a two-on-one chance to cut the Bulldog lead to one at the 12:27 mark.
Duluth carried their lead for the remainder of the game while also tacking on another goal to give them a 4-2 lead for the remaining minutes. The game was close however, with the shots on goal margin standing at 32-29 heading into Saturday’s contest.
The two teams returned to Amsoil Arena to finish the series, and the Bulldogs got on the board first once again. Giguere scored a pair of goals at the 8:18 and the 9:13 marks of the first period and sent the teams into the intermission with MSU down 0-2.
The Mavericks came out in the second period on fire as freshman Alexis Paddington cut the Bulldogs’ lead to one at the 4:44 mark from a shot over UMD goaltender Jojo Chobak’s glove side. Then exactly one minute later senior defenseman Taylor Wemple tied the game at two as she shot the puck through the UMD goaltender’s five-hole.
The remainder of the second period was left scoreless with the Mavericks holding a 17-12 advantage in shots heading into the third.
The Bulldogs repeated the short history once again, as they scored back to back goals once again about one minute apart for the second time. UMD’s Gabbie Hughes scored a shot through Frank’s five-hole for the go ahead goal and the lead was later made two when Van Wieren scored again to go up 4-2 with less than 15 minutes remaining.
MSU attempted to come back with junior Charlotte Akervik scoring on a King pass in the slot, but it was not enough as UMD secured the victory on an empty-net goal with just 44 seconds left. With the losses, the Mavericks now fall to 1-3 on the season against the Bulldogs and 12-13-1 overall on the season.
The Mavs are now 8-13-1 in WCHA action and the Bulldogs now move to 16-8-0 overall and 13-7-0 in the WCHA. Next up for Minnesota State is No. 2 Ohio State at home the weekend of Feb 4.