The Minnesota State Women’s Hockey team fell short this past weekend, losing two games in Columbus against No. 1 Ohio State 2-6 and 2-4.
The Mavericks built upon a subpar performance two weeks ago when they faced off against No. 9 Wisconsin, scoring three more goals in the two games this weekend than they did in their two games against the Badgers. It was a big step in the right direction for the team, and they will need to continue to put points on the scoreboard if they want any chance at knocking off No. 7 Minnesota Duluth this upcoming Friday and Saturday.
A significant component of the Mavs’ success was the return of junior forward and former Maverick points leader, Jamie Nelson, someone the team had missed the previous five games. Nelson again showed up on the stat sheet this past weekend, recording one assist in the two contests.
On top of having players in and out of the lineup this season due to injury, the Mavericks also have been changing up their lines quite a bit. Originally, the shift was huge for the team, seeing the Mavs score 13 goals in back-to-back series against Long Island and Lindenwood Universities.
Since then, the team has slowed down their scoring woes, but senior forward, Brooke Bryant, ensured that seeing fresh lines helps the team find their “spark” when times are tough.
“It’s kind of nice every once in a while to change stuff up. It definitely can spark something with different linemates,” explained Bryant. “Switching everything up definitely makes a difference.”
“You get a little complacent sometimes, and that leads back to goal-scoring. When you play with different players, that’s something that can create a spark for our team.”
For the Mavericks, finding the back of the net was huge against a stingy No. 1 Buckeyes team and is building a lot of confidence in the team moving forward.
Bryant explained that “we kind of forget that we have people that can shoot like crazy and can score big goals. Sometimes we sit back and worry about trying to make pretty plays and we just need to get shots on the net. Building confidence in that will go a long way with our team.”
This upcoming weekend, the Mavericks will have a shot at competing against the No. 7 team in the nation, Minnesota Duluth. Over the past few years, the Bulldogs have become a solidified rival of the Mavericks with back-to-back seasons of Duluth knocking out Minnesota State from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) playoffs.
The two teams met previously this season back in October, which found the Bulldogs edging out two wins on their ice over the Mavericks 2-1 in overtime and 2-0. Now it is Minnesota State’s turn to host the rivalry, and Bryant knows this is the time the Mavericks can prove that they can compete with some of college hockey’s best.
“Going into the next couple of series, especially against Duluth, who has become our rival, we should remember that we are a good team,” said Bryant. “We can be here. We can play. In our league, we’re playing against a top-10 team just about every weekend. If we remember those things, it’ll all fall into place.”
Write to Kole Buelow at Kole.Buelow@mnsu.edu
Header photo: MSU Women’s Hockey team falls to Ohio State over the weekend in a two-game away series. (Lilly Anderson)