Instead of their normal home or away series, the Minnesota State women’s hockey team will be playing the University of St. Thomas in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Women’s Face-Off Classic.
The annual game raises awareness for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum in Eveleth, Minn. This game is also aimed at showcasing women’s college hockey at the highest level to fans and aspiring young women who idolize their favorite players.
“The WCHA is excited to have league members Minnesota State and St. Thomas play in the 2023 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Women’s Face-Off Classic,” said Tracy Dill, interim commissioner of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in a press release posted to the Maverick Athletics website. “The game will provide the Maple Grove community and surrounding metro area exposure to NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey and an opportunity to watch the great sport of women’s ice hockey.”
The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum opened in 1973 with the goal of preserving the history of ice hockey in the United States while recognizing the contributions of players, coaches, administrators, officials and teams.
As for the actual game that will be played, the Mavs and Tommies are both in somewhat of the same situation, looking for their first WCHA win. The Tommies began the season 4-0, but have dropped eight straight games against some of the WCHA’s best. Ella Boerger and Rylee Bartz have combined for 20 points on the year, with 10 apiece.
Three different goalies have played in five or more games for the Tommies. Olivia King has played the most minutes and started in five of her eight games played. She has stopped 116 shots with a .859 save percentage on her way to a 2-3 record. Calla Frank also has 116 saves and a 2-3 record, but has allowed one more goal than King with a .853 save percentage. However, it is Maggie Malecha who has the highest save percentage on the team with a .905. Malecha has only started in two games, playing five, and has an 0-2 record in games she has finished.
The two Minnesota teams have only played each other nine times so far, and the Mavs have a perfect 9-0 record in those games.
For the Mavs, Jamie Nelson leads in goals scored with five, while Taylor Otremba and Whitney Tuttle trail behind her with three each. Suzette Faucher and Lauren Barbro have held down the goalie position, with Hailey Hanson being mixed in sparingly. Faucher has played a majority of the minutes defending the net, and she owns .889 save percentage.
After the 7 p.m. puck drop Thursday night, the teams will battle for the Hall of Fame Game Trophy which will be presented to the winning team by Buzz Schneider, 1980 Olympic Hockey Gold Medalist.
Header Photo: The Mavericks will play host to the Tommies at Maple Grove Ice Arena as both teams are looking for their first WCHA win. (Courtesy Maverick Athletics)
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