The wait is finally over for the Minnesota State University Mankato women’s hockey team, claiming their first win and a series sweep against the University of St. Thomas this past weekend.
“I’m happy for our team. They’ve been working hard and were in some tough battles here to start the season with those first six games,” stated Mavericks’ head coach John Harrington. It was a tough first six games for Minnesota State, who played teams with a combined record of 16-0-0 to begin its 2022-23 season.
Minnesota State is 2-6-0 overall and has earned seven points in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) action. The team has lost key players and experienced heartbreaking defeats but has never lost hope, and that showed against the Tommies where the Mavericks came out with two wins.
One of the big storylines this weekend derived from freshman defenseman Kianna Roeske, who earned WCHA defenseman of the week honors for her efforts in the Mavericks’ series this past weekend. Roeske earned her first collegiate and Maverick goal Friday while also collecting another point Saturday. Coach Harrington commented on Roeske’s impact this past weekend first saying, “Anna Wilgren out is a huge loss for us, and Lindsay Howard hasn’t been able to play at all yet either. So, we’ve had some young players have to step in there, Kianna being one of them along with Lily Ramirez.”
Harrington then went on to say, “They both played like experienced players, they’re aggressive players and they try to make a play. And this last weekend, just like we’ve seen in previous weekends, Kianna got herself involved in the game and she played with an ‘I can do things with the puck’ attitude.”
“What they’ve done, I don’t think has been a surprise to us. We knew they were good players. They’re getting a lot of minutes right now and they’re taking advantage of that opportunity.”
Despite not getting on the scoreboard first, the Mavericks rebounded in game one with three unanswered goals to secure their first win of the season in 3-1 fashion over the Tommies. Junior forward Jamie Nelson described the win saying, “Nothing is better than getting the first one under your belt. Now we know what it takes to win.”
Minnesota State translated the pace of play and their control over St. Thomas into game two where they shut out the Tommies 2-0. Junior goaltender Lauren Barboro tallied 15 saves in the contest, helping earn her first win and shutout of the season.
The Mavericks travel to Bemidji for its upcoming slate, facing off against conference foe: the Bemidji State Beavers. With seven WCHA points under their belt, the Mavericks will look to extend their lead from the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs for fourth in the WCHA standings. Meanwhile, the Beavers are still looking for their first conference points this season and are hoping to do so after two losses against Wisconsin this past weekend.
Header Photo: The Minnesota State Women’s Hockey team swept a two-game series against St. Thomas over the weekend. Thursday’s game ended 3-1, and Friday’s ended 2-0. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)
Write to Kole Buelow at Kole.Buelow@mnsu.edu