Rinse and repeat

MSU women’s hockey sweeps weekend with two 7-3 wins

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot State’s Angela Lothspeich (15) skates in front of her bench in a game against Wisconsin-Eau Claire Sunday afternoon at Maysa Arena in Minot.

After a pair of unpleasant defeats to the University of Minnesota to start the season, the Minot State women’s hockey club found its scoring touch this weekend with 14 goals across two games.

The Beavers (2-2) skated past the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Saturday 7-3 and then hit the repeat button to put up the same score again Sunday afternoon at Maysa Arena.

“We came into this weekend 0-2 having played a good Minnesota team, so we came out with a bit of fire in our hearts,” Beavers head coach and former MSU men’s goaltender Ryan Miner said. “The girls really put in the effort to get these wins. We got a lot of shots on net. But, obviously, there is stuff we still need to work. We shouldn’t have allowed three goals in both games, but we can work on that.”

On Sunday, the Beavers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. They opened the scoring 19 seconds after getting their first power play opportunity six minutes into the contest — Mackenzie Balogh picked out Beth-Ann Goudy on the back post.

Vanessa Grimstad doubled MSU’s lead with 8:26 left in the opening period with assists coming from Tylar Holland and Gabi Wigness. Balogh got on the receiving end of a power goal five minutes later.

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot State defender Cassidy McGree (11) takes a shot between the legs of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Jessie Wilkins (4) in a game played Sunday afternoon at Maysa Arena.

Four games into the season, Grimstad and Balogh led the Beavers in scoring with four goals each.

The UW-Eau Claire Blugolds got a power play goal of their own with 2:02 remaining in the first period to cut the Beavers lead down to 3-1. MSU outshot the Blugolds 17-10 in the opening frame and 43-31 for the game.

“I thought that our forecheck and our passing was on point,” Miner said. “We are starting to get some good chemistry going. We have set lines, our power play did well and things are starting to click which is nice to see.”

An unassisted power play goal by Emily Saltenberger had the Blugolds right back in it down 3-2 with 10:17 left in the second period. But, the Beavers pulled away shortly after with three goals in less than two minutes.

Angela Lothspeich got the first tally on a slap shot in front of the goal thanks to a pinpoint pass from Lauren Michayluk.

Just over a minute later, freshman newcomer Sami Jo Henry needed just 10 seconds between scoring her second and third goals of the weekend. Captain Cassidy McGree assisted the first and Holland got the helper on the second.

MSU held a 6-2 lead after the second period.

“Stuff to work on would be our defensive zone,” Miner said. “Clearing the puck out in front of the net, two-on-ones and where to be on the ice.”

After a scoreless 12 minutes to open the third period, Alexandra Kreutzian nabbed a goal back for the Blugolds. Lothspeich, however, answered four minutes later with her second goal of the game. A short-handed effort off a pass from Grimstad, 7-3.

Former Minot High goaltender Jadin Flexhaug stopped 28 shots in her first start as a Beaver.

The Beavers got goals from Grimstad (3), Goudy, Balogh, Henry and Bryana Christensen in Saturday’s win.

Last season, MSU reached the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Women’s Division II semifinals in its first trip to nationals in program history. The Beavers, now in their 11th year of existence, aspire to challenge for a national championship again this season.

“We have high expectations,” Miner said. “Last year, was the first time we made it to nationals. We have the same goal, only this time our goal is to win it.”

Both the MSU women and men’s hockey teams travel to Nebraska to face Midland University next in doubleheaders to be played Friday and Saturday. The women return to Maysa Arena the following weekend with two home games against Assiniboine College on Oct. 28 at 7:35 p.m. and Oct. 29 at 1 p.m.

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.