After losing in heartbreaking fashion back-to-back nights this past weekend, it is time for the Minnesota State Women’s Hockey team to put the two losses behind them and focus on Bemidji State this weekend.
The Mavericks made it close with the currently-ranked No. 7 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs this past weekend. In the record books, Friday night went down as a 3-4 overtime loss and Saturday ended in a 0-0 tie.
Saturday’s 0-0 tie was originally broken in overtime when MSU junior forward, Sydney Langseth, potted a game-winner, but the Minnesota State goal got called back after review and the Mavs eventually lost in a shootout. There is still one thing to be happy about from this past weekend, however, and that’s two points in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) standings.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s matchup, the Mavericks take on the WCHA’s current last-place team in Bemidji State. Prior to a 4-1 win against St. Thomas this past weekend, the Beavers had yet to win their second game in WCHA play. Their first win came against none other than Minnesota State.
With the WCHA’s bottom two seeds essentially etched in stone, the Beavers look to play spoiler to the Mavericks’ hopes of catching up to St. Cloud State as the WCHA’s fifth seed. They will be doing this while also trying to surpass St. Thomas for the seventh seed on their own.
Knowingly, Minnesota State senior defenseman, Taylor Wemple, explained, “We cannot go in thinking that we are automatically going to win. The good thing is, we have had a really good week so far of practice and everyone is feeling confident going into the weekend.” Wemple also said, “We were so close this past weekend and it was a great series so I believe our play will carry over into our series with Bemidji.”
It is hard to understand how a team will play against you when you haven’t played them for a while, and the Mavericks are in a similar situation this weekend. Minnesota State and Bemidji State have not played each other in over three months, dating back to October of 2022.
As for what they expect, Wemple explained, “They’ll compete a bit harder. It was pretty early in the season the last time we played them, and everyone gets better throughout the season for sure, but we’re ready for them.”
For four straight weeks, the Mavericks have competed against teams inside the USCHO’s top 15 national rankings. This weekend, the Mavs finally get a break from that stretch, but it also raises the question: “how will the team play when their upcoming opponent has a big difference in playstyle?”
Wemple explains how she expects Bemidji to play, along with how the Mavericks will need to adapt in order to have a successful weekend.
“It is very different with higher-skilled teams. They hold onto the puck more,” said Wemple. “For this weekend, there will probably be a lot of dumping and chasing the puck. For us, if we gain possession first and win the battles to be able to set up plays, it will make our game a whole lot easier.”
The Mavericks will be chasing nothing less than two regulation wins this weekend, as they prepare to catch up to St. Cloud State in the WCHA standings. With two wins, the Mavs will only have themselves to count on the following weekend when they travel to St. Cloud for their final series of the year before playoffs.
This weekend, the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in downtown Mankato will play host to the Mavericks and the Beavers. Friday’s game starts at 6 pm while Saturday’s contest begins at 3 pm.
Write to Kole Buelow at Kole.Buelow@mnsu.edu
Header photo: MSU Women’s Hockey team plays their second to last two-game series of the regular season at home against Bemidji State Friday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 11 at 3 p.m (Lilly Anderson)