Women’s hockey faces off against Bemidji for fifth in the WCHA

The Minnesota State women’s hockey team returns back home this weekend for their final regular season series versus Bemidji State before the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. It is a big weekend for both teams, who come into the series back to back in the conference standings. 

The Mavericks currently hold the fifth spot in the standings at 26 points with a conference record of 8-17-1 and overall record of 12-17-1. The Beavers follow closely behind with 25 points of their own, which equates to a 8-16-2 conference record and overall record of 11-16-3. 

Mavs head coach John Harrington expressed the importance of winning the series this weekend saying, “It’s a big series for us and a chance at fifth place in the league. To have a matchup with the fourth place team in the league instead of the possibility of getting a matchup with Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Ohio State… is going to be really important for us.”

The two teams met up earlier in the season with a series split in Bemidji. 

The Beavers took game one of the series in a 2-3 regulation time win. The Mavs got on the board first on a goal from senior center Brittyn Fleming on the powerplay and added another to their total with a goal from junior winger Kelsey King in the second period.

BSU responded in the third period, however, scoring two goals including one on the powerplay. The Mavericks were never able to tie up the score before the end of regulation. 

The two teams then moved onto Saturday where Minnesota State found their first win of the series. The Beavers claimed the first lead of the game in the second period but a goal from sophomore Madison Mashuga tied it up in the third period. 

The game proceeded into overtime and eventually a shootout, where the Mavericks’ first shootout attempt from Sydney Langseth found the back of the net. The Beavers were unable to find a goal of their own in the shootout, giving the Mavs a win and a series split. 

The chance at fifth place in the WCHA standings is now up for grabs as both teams will battle for the opportunity to play the fourth seed in the conference during the final tournament. 

“This is a huge series for us as a team. It’s a great chance for us to claim two wins going into the playoffs and secure our fifth spot in the standings.” said junior Kelsey King on the Bemidji series.

This weekend’s games also mark the chance to celebrate the Minnesota State seniors who are participating in their final season for the Mavericks this year. The group of seniors on the women’s hockey team include Jessica Kondas, Taylor Wemple, Claire Butorac, Brooke Bryant, Brittyn Fleming and Chantal Burke. 

“It will be a great weekend to celebrate our seniors… to play for our seniors is going to be the motto and I am super excited” said King. 

Coach Harrington also commented saying, “It’s an emotional weekend for us in a good way. I’m excited for those seniors and our team, and I’m looking forward to the series against Bemidji.”

Header Photo: Senior center Brittyn Fleming (19) leads the Mavericks in points with 36. Fleming does so behind 14 goals and 22 assists. The Mavs face Bemidji State this weekend to decide WCHA tournament seeding. (Mansoor Ahmad/The Reporter)

Write to Kole Buelow at kole.buelow@mnsu.edu.

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