The Minnesota State University, Mankato women’s hockey team traveled north to the University of Minnesota Duluth’s home rink this weekend to face off against the No. 4 Bulldogs. A grueling game one sent the two teams to overtime but Duluth prevailed to remain undefeated to start their 2022-23 season.
Game two was another close battle, but a slow start from the Mavericks was all the Bulldogs needed to jump out to an early lead and hold on. With the series loss, Minnesota State drops to 0-4-0 this season but has made every game a close one.
It has been a tough start to the season for the Mavericks, but sophomore defenseman Shelbi Guttormson says the team’s spirits are still high.
“Our starting schedule is definitely not the easiest,” explained Guttormson. “That first weekend against Ohio State was definitely a; we’re a good team, we can stick with the number one team in the nation, kind of thing. We thought we had it.”
After losing by one goal in each of their first two games against No. 1 Ohio State, Minnesota State fell in a similar fashion to Minnesota Duluth in overtime 2-1 on Friday. Senior forward Kennedy Bobyck scored the lone goal for the Mavericks, finding the back of the net shorthanded to kick off game one.
The Bulldogs tied it up later in the first and it wasn’t until overtime that Duluth finished it off just 14 seconds in. Ashton Bell, a fifth-year senior, was the overtime hero for the Bulldogs.
Despite the loss, Guttormson stated, “I thought we had a really good start on Friday. It was nice to get that first goal.”
The two Minnesota teams then faced off again on Saturday to cap off their first of two series this year.
“Saturday was a quick turnaround at three and kind of a slow start for us,” explained the sophomore defenseman. “I think we got outpaced as we eased into the first and second, but we have a lot to learn from that Saturday game too.”
Two goals at the 4:57 and 5:20 marks of the first period were all the Bulldogs needed to fend off the Mavericks in game two, and now Minnesota State looks forward to a home-and-home series against the Minnesota Gophers this weekend.
When asked about what the team is looking to implement this coming weekend, Guttormson kept it simple: “Keep with the pace and set it right away.”
The sophomore also went on to say, “We have to keep shooting on their goalies. We didn’t test the Duluth goal enough last week, and I think we had a total of 25 shots in both games… We need to create more offense and continue to have a solid defense.”
The Mavericks’ struggles have definitely come by not scoring the puck as much as they need to, but with more shots on goal per game, the team will undoubtedly find themselves as the victors in one-goal games.
Write to Kole Buelow at Kole.Buelow@mnsu.edu