Mavericks look to ‘crack the code’ against No. 14 Huskies
The Minnesota State Women’s Hockey team returns to action this weekend for their first home series since playing Wisconsin back on Dec. 9 and 10. The Mavericks are sitting at an even .500 on the season at 11-11-0 and have a chance to break above the .500 mark for the first time this season.
St. Cloud State will not be an easy foe to do it against, however, as they rank No. 14 in the most recent USCHO college hockey poll. The Huskies 13-10-0 record slightly tops Minnesota State’s 11-11-0, but a 4-1 win over former No. 1 Minnesota is currently holding SCSU inside the top 15.
Minnesota State has struggled against top 15 opponents this season, going 0-10 in those contests. Outside of the top 15, the Mavericks are dominant, winning 11 of 12 games against all other opponents.
MSU is looking for motivation to finally crack the code against the USCHO’s top 15, and freshman defenseman, Lilie Ramirez, explained this weekend might be the time the Mavericks can finally break through.
“Since St. Cloud is up there now and they are the only team we haven’t played, it puts a fire in all of us to get going,” said Ramirez. “We wanna be up there too. I think we’re all a little mad that the Huskies are ranked, so I think that will help us win.”
To make the stakes even higher for both teams, the Huskies and Mavericks sit fifth and sixth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings, respectively. Depending on the outcomes, the two could flip places in the standings which would help earn MSU a higher seed in the upcoming WCHA tournament in March. Shockingly, this will be the first meeting for both teams this season.
When asked about what Minnesota State can expect from the Huskies, Ramirez explained, “They’re gonna be good. We’re expecting them to be defensively very strong. This week we are really focusing on working on scoring, crashing the net, and having poise with the puck in all areas of the ice.”
Ramirez also went on to say, “Going into it we know we need this win for playoff seeding. We haven’t played them yet, we don’t know how they’ll be a hundred percent, but we know we can win. We need to sweep them.”
The Mavericks will surely have to be on top of their game for this weekend’s series, and the team will undoubtedly have confidence in doing so after two strong outings this past weekend against Lindenwood University. Minnesota State arguably had their most dominant game this season against the Lions less than a week ago, where they blanked Lindenwood 8-0 Jan. 6.
Ramirez talked about the team’s success against Lindenwood, and knows the Mavericks will need to stay on top of their game if they want to sweep the opposing Huskies.
“We need to keep our speed, and I think the last two series we’ve really moved well together,” explained Ramirez. “We’ve switched up the lines too, and being able to play with different people, I think it has helped us put the puck in the net. We have to keep capitalizing on our chances and this weekend’s series will go our way.”
The Mavericks will face the No. 14 Huskies Jan. 13 and Jan. 14 at 6 pm and 3 pm, respectively. The games will be hosted in downtown Mankato at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center.
Write to Kole Buelow at Kole.Buelow@mnsu.edu
Header Photo: MSU Women’s Hockey team strives for their third-straight two-game series victory against St. Cloud State. Games start Friday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. and Saturday 3 p.m. at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center. (Lilly Anderson)