A rough series on the defensive front paved the way for the Minnesota State Women’s Hockey team to lose 3-6 and 2-5 this past weekend against St. Cloud State. Tied at 30 points in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) standings, the two women’s hockey programs dueled it out for the WCHA’s fifth seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
Minnesota State got the best of St. Cloud earlier in the year, winning 3-1 and 4-1 at home to earn the season series edge on the Huskies. Coming into this past weekend, all the Mavericks had to do was win once in regulation and they would’ve clinched the fifth seed.
With the No. 12 Huskies defending home ice and looking to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Mavericks, SCSU spoiled MSU’s hopes of topping off one of their best regular seasons in program history.
Minnesota State got on the board first Friday night, off the stick of junior forward Jamie Nelson. After the Mavericks won a faceoff in the offensive zone, the puck slid out to Nelson’s stick and with a swift motion, Nelson buried it for the first goal of the series.
After that, it was all Huskies who rattled off five straight goals before MSU found one of their own. St. Cloud State’s Klára Hymlárová boosted the charge for the Huskies along the way, tallying two of the team’s five goals.
Despite a power play goal to start the third period for St. Cloud State, the Mavericks found their first spark on a power play goal of their own from none other than their leading goal scorer, Kelsey King. In Maverick fashion, the team scored just six seconds later off the stick of junior forward Madison Mashuga.
Although the two goals brought a bit of hope for the struggling Mavericks, the Huskies were able to calm the chaos, not letting up a score for the remainder of the game. SCSU added an empty net goal in the final seconds of regulation, clinching game one of the series by a score of 3-6.
The following night brought a similar storyline, which found the Huskies with a stretch of four straight goals before a Maverick answer to start the game. SCSU’s senior forward Addi Scribner started things off at the 12:27 mark of the first period and found another to begin the second.
Minnesota State didn’t find an answer for the red-hot Huskies until sophomore Alexis Paddington found her ninth goal of the season. Paddington assisted on the Mavericks’ final goal of the contest but with a goal from SCSU as well, the Mavs eventually fell in game two of the series 2-5.
Now, Minnesota State will be faced with the sixth seed in the WCHA playoffs and have drawn the No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers as their matchup for the first round. Having fallen victim to a season sweep to the Badgers already this season, the Mavericks will have to muster their best hockey yet if they want a chance at keeping their season alive.
Write to Kole Buelow at Kole.Buelow@mnsu.edu
Header Photo: MSU Women’s Hockey team finished their regular season with a 6-3 and 5-2 series loss at St. Cloud State last weekend. (Lilly Anderson)