The last time the Ohio State women’s hockey team faced Minnesota State was in the first round of the WCHA tournament at the end of this past year. In that series, the Buckeyes swept the Mavericks, bringing an end to their season.
This weekend, Ohio State (4-2-0, 2-2-0 WCHA) will travel to Mankato, Minnesota, to face the Mavericks (2-4-0, 0-4-0) again in hopes of adding insult to injury.
The Buckeyes are coming off a tough weekend series against No. 1 Wisconsin, in which they picked up their first two losses of the season. The team hopes to have learned some valuable lessons from the losses that it can take forward into the early season.
“I think we have to work together better, like communicate,” sophomore goaltender Andrea Braendli said. “That was one thing that I felt was not as good as we could be. Five-on-five, we competed pretty good with them, and I think we have to take that with us.”
While Minnesota State may not be as formidable a foe as Wisconsin, the Buckeyes know that there are no easy wins when playing in their conference.
“We’re looking to bring the same energy, same intensity, that we brought against Wisconsin, into Mankato,” junior forward Liz Schepers said. “Every weekend in the WCHA is such a battle. We’re so competitive, top to bottom, that you really have to face every team like they’re a top one, two, three in the country.”
The Mavericks were also swept this past weekend, falling to No. 8 Minnesota Duluth 3-2 and 3-0. Schepers said she thought the fact that they were able to hang tough with Minnesota Duluth says something about their team.
“It’s a really hardworking team. They have some great goaltending. They just played two tight games against Duluth,” Schepers said.
The Buckeyes faced Minnesota State four times in the regular season this past year. In the first series, Ohio State won both games, getting a 4-0 shutout the first game and winning 2-1 in overtime the second game.
The teams split in their second meeting of the year with the Mavericks shutting out the Buckeyes 3-0 and the Buckeyes returning the favor with a 2-0 win.
Junior forward Emma Maltais has a team-high five goals for the Buckeyes. This week, Maltais was named to the Canadian National Team’s roster for the series against the United States on Nov. 8-10.
Maltais, Schepers and junior forward Tatum Skaggs — on the Buckeyes forward line — lead the team in points, Maltais with 10, Schepers with seven and Skaggs with six.
Senior defenseman Jincy Dunne leads the team in blocked shots with 16 on the defensive side. Meanwhile, sophomore defenseman Sophie Jaques has the most defensive points for the Buckeyes off one goal and five assists.
For the Mavericks, junior forward Mariah Gardner leads the team in goals with three, while freshman forward Kelsey King holds a team-high five points, all from assists.
The Buckeyes will likely see both sophomore goaltender Abigail Levy and freshman goaltender Calla Frank in the net this weekend, as both Maverick goaltenders have been splitting duties so far.
The puck will drop at 3:07 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.