Mavericks return home to face No. 2 Buckeyes in WCHA play

After a tough, hard fought series against Minnesota Duluth, the Minnesota State women’s hockey team is set to return home this weekend as they play host to the Ohio State Buckeyes who are 19-5 overall and 15-5 in the WCHA. The Mavs come into this weekend’s series 12-13-1 overall and 8-13-1 in the WCHA.

Both teams are ranked inside the USCHO’s Pairwise Rankings, however No. 2 Ohio State is significantly higher than No. 19 Minnesota State. With a win against Ohio State this weekend, Minnesota State could build themselves credibility for a higher spot come next week’s poll.

A sweep for the Buckeyes could put them closer to stealing the number one spot in the nation from the University of Minnesota in the Pairwise rankings heading into the NCAA tournament. The Golden Gophers will host Bemidji State this weekend for a pair of games at Ritter Arena. 

The Mavericks are 14-73-11 all-time against the Buckeyes and 8-26-6 at home, with their last regulation win coming in 2018. 

Both teams met earlier this season in Columbus with Ohio State handling Minnesota State in both games, routing them 6-3 in game one and 9-0 in game two. The Mavericks, however, were without three of their starting goaltenders and were forced to call up Litchfield native and Minnesota State women’s tennis player Avery Stillwell. The Mavs are hoping this series will be different as they will have junior goaltender Calla Frank back between the pipes.

One key player to watch this weekend will be Buckeye defenseman Sophie Jacques. Jacques was honored as the WCHA defenseman of the month for January, registering 14 points from five goals and nine assists in six games played. The Buckeye defenseman is also ranked second in the NCAA in assists per game and points per game. 

On the Mavericks’ side of the ice be sure to watch out for junior goaltender Calla Frank. Due to the Mavericks’ emergency goaltender situation earlier this season, this will be Frank’s first attempt at the Buckeyes this season.

The Maverick goaltender is coming off a 48-save performance this past weekend against the Bulldogs. She will be looking to keep Jacques and the rest of the Buckeyes off the board this weekend. 

Minnesota State’s leading point scorer this year is senior forward Brittyn Fleming, who has 32 points in 26 games played. Junior forward Kelsey King follows closely behind Fleming with 29 points.

On the other side of the ice, Jacques leads OSU in scoring this year, registering 44 points in 24 games played. Junior forward Jennifer Gardiner is second on Ohio State this season, tallying 35.

Puck drop for this weekend’s series begins on Feb. 4 at 6:01 p.m. and will return back to action on Feb. 5 at 2:01 p.m. Both games will be held at the Mayo Clinic Health System Events Center in downtown Mankato.

Header Photo: Junior goaltender Calla Frank (77) is set to face No. 2 Ohio State for the first time this season. Frank is 10-11-1 on the season through 22 starts and has a .901 save percentage.

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