Women’s hockey knocked out of WCHA playoffs in heartbreaking overtime loss to No. 5 Duluth

The Minnesota State women’s hockey team traveled north to Duluth, Minn. this weekend for the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament. The Mavericks came into the matchup as the fifth seed going up against fourth seeded No. 5 Minnesota Duluth. 

The two teams played four times earlier in the season, with the Bulldogs holding a 1-3 game advantage over the Mavs. Unranked MSU held most teams close in the waning moments of the season, and would pose a difficult task to the top-ranked UMD squad.

The Mavericks did just that, getting on the board first in game one of the best of three series. Junior winger Kelsey King struck first less than two minutes into the contest, assisted by Kennedy Bobyck and Alexis Paddington. 

The remainder of the first period was littered with goals, with each team claiming another two of their own. With a 3-2 lead heading into intermission, it would only be a matter of time before the Bulldogs claim their first lead of the contest.

Duluth’s Naomi Rogge buried three goals in the second period, including a power play goal to get the period started at the 2:04 mark. 

The Mavericks would find a goal of their own while blanking the Bulldogs in the final period of play, but it was not enough to send the game into extra time. Duluth’s 5-4 win would make them one game closer to a series sweep of Minnesota State. 

“We wanted to play a smart game and manage the puck well… They have an outstanding first line and we wanted our players to be aware of that group,” said Mavericks’ head coach John Harrington on heading into the next game. 

The Mavs would return with vengeance in game two, scoring first once again at the 10:09 mark on the power play. Senior forward Brittyn Fleming slipped the puck past UMD goaltender Jojo Chobak but the Bulldogs would respond four minutes later to tie the game at one heading into the intermission.

A Gabby Krause interference penalty at the 7:16 mark would give way for the Mavericks to find their second power play goal of the contest. Freshman Alexis Paddington found the back of the net half way through the second, scoring her sixth goal of the year. 

Another Fleming goal just 1:19 later would give the Mavs a 3-1 lead they would hold for the remainder of the contest. 

With the series tied at 1-1 the team would settle the series on Sunday. 

UMD got the scoring rolling in the first period, scoring on a too many players on the ice penalty at the 4:48 mark. The Bulldogs would find another goal in the first minutes of the second period, but the Mavericks would respond with a Fleming goal just over five minutes later. 

Senior defenseman Jessica Kondas would continue the early scoring trend at the 2:25 mark of the third period, but the scoreboard would remain tied at two heading into extra time. 

Half way through the five-minute overtime period, UMD standout fifth year forward Elizabeth Giguere would call game, ending the Mavericks season. 

“It was tough for our team. They gave everything they had.” Coach Harrington was proud of his team’s accomplishments this season especially how well they battled through injury issues.

“We played five different goalies this year, we had people play different positions… You need someone to make a play for you and the play was made but it was by Duluth.” 

Minnesota State finishes the season 15-19-1 overall and will begin spring workouts in preparation for the next season. The Mavs’ 15-19-1 record marks their best win-percentage wise season since 2006-07, when the team finished 16-17-2 at .486.

The Mavericks will regain senior captain Anna Wilgren and last year’s freshman of the year Jamie Nelson heading into their 2022-23 campaign. However, the team will be without seniors Fleming, Kondas, and Taylor Wemple. 

Fleming’s senior season is one for the history books, where she tallied a team record 45 points and claimed the No. 1 spot in total points as a Maverick in the women’s hockey program at MSU with 114. 

Header Photo: Senior defenseman Taylor Wemple (4) along with seniors Brittyn Fleming and Jessica Kondas leave the Maverick program after the team’s best season since 2006-07. The Mavericks finish the 2021-22 season with a 15-19-1 record. (Maddie Behrens/The Reporter)

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

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: