It is always difficult to look at the positive after losing two games by a goal margin of 1-10, but the Minnesota State Women’s Hockey team is going to have to regain quickly for a bout against No. 2 Wisconsin this upcoming weekend.
This weekend, the Mavericks played their final series against the University of Minnesota this season where the Gophers got the best of the Mavs, winning 4-1 and 6-0 in the respective games. Despite the alarming goal differential, this weekend’s games were a big step up for the Mavericks compared to their previous series against Minnesota this year.
After losing by a margin of 4-20 in October, the Mavs certainly improved. Minnesota State head coach John Harrington commented on the team’s positives this weekend saying, “We got better at playing at the pace of the game. When you’re playing one of the top-ranked teams in the country, you’ve gotta play the game faster in your head and play faster on your feet. We learned a little bit about playing with pace and we have to continue to do that because soon it doesn’t get any easier next weekend as we play Wisconsin.”
Game one started off strong for the Mavericks as senior forward, Kennedy Bobyck, tipped in a rebound to give Minnesota State the early lead. After that, it was all Gophers for the remainder of the weekend. Fifth-year senior Abigail Boreen was the Mavericks’ kryptonite this weekend, accounting for 4 of the 10 Gopher goals.
Outside of Boreen, fifth-year seniors Grace Zumwinkle and Taylor Heise also accounted for nine assists and two goals themselves.
It was hard to look at what the Mavericks did well, but coach Harrington thought a few players stood out to him on his team this weekend. “I look at Shelby Guttormson out there, playing defense and playing strong. When she gets in contested puck areas, she’s big and strong in front of the net,” said Harrington. “I think she did a good job.”
Guttormson was one of the few Mavericks to stay above zero in plus-minus this weekend, while also collecting five total blocks. With a history of finding herself in the penalty box, Guttormson also kept a clean sheet against a Minnesota team who can certainly frustrate opposing players.
Harrington also noted, “I look up front and Taylor Otremba’s there. She’s been a great player for us as a freshman. She has the ability to control the puck and make some plays too. As well, Claire Butorac always gives us a hundred percent effort.”
“She works all 200 feet of the rink as well as anybody. So she’s somebody that when they go out there, she’s noticeable as a player. I think our team notices that and our team tries to play like that. Claire can inspire us with the efforts she puts in.”
After the Gophers snapped a good streak of games where Minnesota State earned seven wins in eight contests, the message in the locker room will have to keep the team’s spirits high if they want a chance at taking down Wisconsin.
As of now, Harrington wants the Mavericks to “Play with pace. We have to make plays under pressure, but we have to think the game without the puck under pressure too.”
Wisconsin, a team that stouts a 13-2-1 record at this point in the season, will be looking to jump past Minnesota in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings. Meanwhile, Minnesota State will be looking to do the same as they are now three points behind their previous fourth-place spot in the standings.
The No. 2 Badgers will come to Mankato on Dec. 9, 10 for their matchups against the Mavericks and will be doing so after two dominant wins over Bemidji State this past weekend.
Header Photo: The Mavericks are set to play the Badgers in Madison, Wis. on Dec. 9 and 10. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)
Write to Kole Buelow at Kole.Buelow@mnsu.edu