Hockey home opener against Ohio State this weekend

In their first glimpse of the new season, the Minnesota State University, Mankato women’s hockey team definitively handled the University of Manitoba 5-1. Although it was only an exhibition game and did not affect the team’s overall record, the Mavericks now have a feel for who they are before conference play starts this weekend. 

MSU will be competing in the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) once again this season, and it will be their 25th anniversary of competing in the WCHA this year. The women’s hockey team pulled the short straw to begin their 2022-23 campaign and is tasked with facing the defending National Champions, Ohio State, for their first home series this season. 

The Ohio State Buckeyes are highly regarded as the No. 1 team in the Nation again this year and have already claimed the top spot in the USCHO Division I Women’s Preseason Poll. The Buckeyes earned 18 first-place votes while the University of Minnesota and Northeastern University found themselves claiming one first-place vote each. 

Minnesota State should not fret, however, as they were not far behind making the top 15 rankings themselves. MSU notched five votes to be inside the top 15, and with a close series, series split, or series sweep they will earn themselves more credibility for upcoming weeks. 

The Mavericks added some talent back to the roster in the offseason, which is looking promising already through just one preseason match. The most notable addition happens to be senior defenseman Anna Wilgren. 

Wilgren had previously played for the Mavs, but a short year-long stint with the USA Women’s National Team had her miss all of last season. Wilgren is now back and arguably better than ever, as she collected two goals in the exhibition contest against Manitoba this past weekend. 

The senior defenseman also captains this Mavericks team along with fellow seniors Claire Butorac and Charlotte Akervik. Outside of Wilgren come a few transfer students alongside MSU’s incoming freshman class.

There is a lot to be excited about, as freshmen Oceane Asham, Lillie Ramirez, Whitney Tuttle, Kianna Roeske, and Taylor Otremba will be making their Maverick debuts against Ohio State. From the transfer portal, Minnesota State added one senior to their active roster which includes goaltender Alexa Berg from Norwich University. 

Berg will look to add to a very experienced goaltending group, bringing solid stats from her time in Norwich. Berg earned All-NEHC Third Team Honors in 2021-22, posting a 9-7 record while allowing 1.51 goals per game while saving .936% of shots. 

Although the Mavericks will only have Berg for one season, goaltending injuries have riddled Minnesota State in the past, and depth and more players at the position will benefit the team tremendously going forward.

Header Photo: Women’s Hockey will play at the Mayo Clinic Event Center on Friday Sept. 30 at 3p.m. and Saturday Oct. 1 at 12p.m. (Dylan Long/The Reporter)

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

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