The Minnesota State women’s hockey team has officially caught fire in recent weeks, winning five of their last six while improving to 5-7-0 overall. The rough start to the season now seems to be a thing of the past, as the Mavericks cruised to 4-1 and 5-1 wins over Sacred Heart University this past weekend.
With two sweeps and a series split with Bemidji State just a week ago, the Mavericks are finding their stride. Junior forward Jamie Nelson attributed the team’s recent success to many things, but most importantly, teamwork.
“We’re getting a little bit of flow with our lines right now,” explained Nelson. “In the beginning, they were being changed. When I came back from my injury, they had to change. We’re just learning how each other plays and getting comfortable with that which has helped in capitalizing on the opportunities we’re getting.”
With nine total goals in two games this past weekend, the Mavericks scored their highest series total against Sacred Heart. The bulk of Minnesota State’s scoring came off Nelson’s stick, but senior defenseman Charlotte Akervik and freshman forward Taylor Otremba also found a pair of goals of their own.
The three Mavericks were recognized for their efforts this past series, each earning some sort of honor in the weekly Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) awards listing. Akervik earned WCHA defenseman of the week, while Nelson and Otremba were each runner-up for forward and rookie of the week respectively.
Akervik, Nelson and Otremba totaled seven of the nine Maverick goals against Sacred Heart, each scoring in unique ways. However, Nelson explained that Minnesota State may have stressed an important detail when shooting on the Pioneers’ goaltender.
“Our coaches were stressing to shoot far pad,” explained Nelson. “Usually that leads to a rebound. We were trying to get it there and as you saw, the goalie couldn’t control them so it led to, I think, three rebound goals.”
Despite prolific scoring this weekend, the Mavericks struggled to stay out of the penalty box. The team found itself on the penalty kill nine times in two games against Sacred Heart.
However, MSU thrived on the penalty kill going nine for nine while one skater down. As a member of the penalty kill unit, Nelson could only thank the team’s mentality for its success.
“We pressured. We didn’t act like we were down a man and we were still fast to the puck. We would go into the corners and battle when it was 50-50. So it was the mentality that we can win battles even though we had one last person on the ice,” Nelson said.
The Mavericks will play an exhibition match against the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 6 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in downtown Mankato.
Header Photo: Minnesota State swept Sacred Heart last weekend at home 4-1 & 5-1. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)
Write to Kole Buelow at Kole.Buelow@mnsu.edu