Revenge is sweet, and the Minnesota State University, Mankato women’s hockey team has a chance at revenge this weekend in their two-game series against Minnesota Duluth.
“Going up to Duluth, we have a little bit of beef with them. They knocked us out of the playoffs last year, so I think everyone’s really excited to get up there and play them again. We have a little something to prove to our friends up north,”Claire Butorac, senior forward for MSU, said.
After dropping their first two opening games of the season to the No. 1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, Minnesota State is now looking forward to No. 4 Minnesota Duluth. The UMD Bulldogs are riding an undefeated start to the season ahead of their matchup against the Mavericks, where they have taken down the likes of Long Island University, St. Lawrence, and Penn State.
On the other hand, the Mavs started off their season 0-2 but showed signs of improvement from last year’s 15-19-1 team. Only losing by one to the top team in the nation in both games was a massive step forward from being outscored 4-27 by Ohio State in four meetings last year.
Despite coming out winless against OSU, the Mavericks were proud of how they played but are ready to get back to work for another top-five matchup.
“I think we had really good energy and effort. Coach always talks a lot about making sure that we put our best foot out there and control what we can control, and that’s one of his big things is controlling the energy and effort,” said Butorac. “So I think we did a really good job. We played fast and we played really physical, which is needed in our league.”
When asked about what the team could do better, Butorac kept it simple.
“Obviously to win a game you gotta score goals. You gotta score more goals than they score. So I would say just finishing in front of the net, we had a few chances in the last couple minutes of both games to either tie it or win the game by one. So I think we really just need to bear down and finish in front of the net this weekend for sure.”
The Mavs’ freshman class along with incoming goaltenders Lauren Barboro and Alexa Berg, stepped up in the absence of fellow teammates this past weekend. The two netminders recorded 71 saves, while freshman forward Taylor Otremba earned her first career point on an assist to Butorac.
Minnesota State will have to lean on their depth again this weekend, but Butorac is confident in her new teammate’s abilities against a strong Bulldogs team.
“All of them did phenomenal,” said Butorac. “They really took their roles and ran with them. As far as what they bring to our team, they bring a lot of speed. They bring a lot of energy and they push us to be better every day.”
“Having them around and in the mix makes everyone better because you gotta fight for your spot within your team. But they’re also right there to cheer for everyone else as they do good things. So it’s gonna be a really exciting season for them.”
The Mavericks will have to bring their “A-game” yet again this weekend against a tough Bulldogs team, but they are as ready as they ever will be.
Header Photo: Minnesota State University, Mankato Mavericks will play the University Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs this Friday at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, Minn. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)
Write to Kole Buelow at Kole.Buelow@mnsu.edu