No. 2 Minnesota is in the home stretch of the regular season and this weekend travels to Minnesota State, where it will play the Mavericks in the first of three straight road series.
Last week was an emotional one for the Gophers. Just a couple days prior to a weekend series with Bemidji State, freshman Stephanie Anderson’s sister passed away unexpectedly at the age of 24.
Minnesota (20-4-2, 14-4-2 WCHA) regrouped and beat the Beavers 3-2 Friday before tying at 3-3 on Saturday. The team attended the funeral for Anderson’s sister on Tuesday.
“This week was tough. There’s no question what we’ve been going through,” assistant coach Nadine Muzerall said. “Words don’t describe it. All we can do is just support and build around each other.”
Muzerall said the team’s unity was highlighted in wake of the tragedy, and it will continue getting ready for the Mavericks.
The Gophers not only swept but destroyed MSU earlier in the season, outscoring the Mavericks 10-0 in two games.
Senior Sarah Erickson said she expects MSU (7-19-0, 3-17-0 WCHA) to be better this time around.
“You’re going to find yourself playing teams and having them be harder in the second half [of the season],” she said.
“They play harder in their own rink … I think we’re just going to have to be disciplined in our systems and shoot the puck a lot.”
With postseason play on the horizon, Muzerall said these games are critical in preparation for the playoffs.
“This whole season is just coming to an end very quickly. I think we have to build off each other and just keep trucking through,” she said.
“Being one of the best teams in the country, everybody that we play against will play their absolute best against us. And that’s something you can’t take lightly.”