The Minnesota State women’s hockey team traveled to Madison this past weekend to take on the No. 3 ranked Wisconsin Badgers. The Mavericks previously played the Badgers on home ice back in October of last year, and were handed two losses by scores of 1-2 and 2-6.
This was the Mavs chance at revenge but they went into the series shorthanded in eligible skaters due to injury.
After one period of play the two teams went into the intermission tied at two. Senior forward Brittyn Fleming got the scoring started as she buried her 13th goal of the season just 31 seconds into action.
Less than two minutes later the Badgers responded with a goal of their own however and added another from senior Daryl Watts at the 9:40 mark. Junior winger Kelsey King tied up the score moments later, thanks to a two-on-one give and go play with junior linemate Kennedy Bobyck to score her 14th goal of the year.
The second period began with a pair of Badger goals, first scored by Wisconsin’s Casey O’Brien and later yet another goal from Watts. The second ended with the Badgers up 4-2 and was later extended to 5-2 in the third.
O’Brien tallied her second goal of the night for the Badgers’ fifth, and that was all the Badgers needed to bring home a 5-2 win in the series opener.
The Mavericks’ first line of forwards tallied both goals in the opening game of the series and junior Kelsey King said “I love playing with those two… We have so much chemistry on and off the ice.”
The two teams then moved onto Saturday where a scoreless first period was in store. The Badgers outshot the Mavericks 3-13 in the period but MSU junior goaltender Calla Frank stood tall to keep the score 0-0 going into intermission.
The Mavs could not hold on any longer with UW taking a commanding three goal lead just five minutes into the second period. The Mavericks broke through their scoreless night after a big save from Frank on the Mav end.
Bobyck led the charge as she dropped a pass for King who found Fleming in the slot to get MSU on the board. At the 14:40 mark King brought the Mavericks within one of the Badgers on a backhanded shot.
UW’s O’Brien reclaimed the two-goal lead for the Badgers with just 17.5 seconds remaining in the second period.
Wisconsin came out hot in the final period of play, scoring two more goals just 31 seconds apart while also scoring a third at the 12:38 mark to bring their lead to five. The final eight minutes of play ended scoreless with the Mavericks falling to the Badgers 2-7.
“We’ve had an unlucky stretch of injuries, giving us 14 skaters and one goaltender on Friday and 13 skaters on Saturday… It’s tough to compete against the top teams in the country when we are outnumbered and outmatched” said Coach Harrington in an interview on Sunday.
The Mavericks fell to 12-17-1 overall and 8-17-1 in the WCHA with the two losses and now look forward to their final series of the regular season against Bemidji State this upcoming weekend.
BSU and MSU sit sixth and fifth in the standings heading into the final series within one point of each other. The two games will prove to be pivotal in WCHA tournament seeding.
Header photo: Junior winger Kelsey King (20) leads the Mavericks in goals at 15. King collected her 14th and 15th goals this season against the Badgers in Madison with the WCHA playoffs right around the corner. (Mansoor Ahmad/The Reporter)
Write to Kole Buelow at email@example.com.