From Minot Daily News
The second-ranked Minot State women’s hockey team begins postseason play this weekend, eyeing a Women’s Midwest College Hockey Tournament title and an automatic berth to the ACHA Division I National Championships in mid-March in St. Louis, Mo.
All it takes is three wins for the Beavers (23-5-1 overall, 11-2-1 WMCH) to hoist their first of what the team hopes will be multiple trophies this postseason as Minot State opens conference tournament play against the University of Minnesota on Friday at 7:45 p.m. in Chesterfield, Mo.
“We are excited to compete at the conference tournament this upcoming weekend,” Minot State head coach Ryan Miner said. “It will give us a good idea of where we stack up heading into the National Tournament. Six out of the seven (WMCH) teams are currently ranked in the Top 10 so every game will be an opportunity to compete and see where we match up against the opponents we face.”
“We have had a successful season thus far that has seen its ups and downs, but we have continued to progress and will be ready to go this weekend,” Miner added.
Hitting the ice to compete alongside the Beavers this weekend will be No. 1-ranked Liberty (Va.), No. 3 ranked Lindenwood (Mo.), No. 4-ranked Midland (Neb.), No. 8-ranked McKendree (Ill.), and No. 9-ranked Maryville (Mo.).
“Tournament time means no second chances so we’re going into this weekend with the mentality that we have to win each game to move on otherwise we go home; we will need to play with that mindset,” Miner said. “There is no time to take a shift off or sit back, we need to be able to come out strong from the start and play a full 60-minute game at both ends of the ice.”
That starts against the Golden Gophers (7-10-1) on Friday, a team the Beavers swept this season in four meetings, outscoring Minnesota 29-5.
Scoring will be a key for a balanced Minot State team led by four double-digit goal scorers in sophomore Riley Ball (12 goals), juniors Ensley Fendelet (11 goals) and Megan Norris (10 goals), and senior Haley Wickham (11 goals) as the Beaver offense hit a small snag in its final two regular-season games scoring just twice against Midland last weekend.
“This past weekend was an eye-opener for the team, however, an opportunity to grow from our mistakes,” Coach Miner said. “Finding the middle lane will always be difficult under pressure, so protecting the puck and out-muscling our opponents will be necessary for the upcoming weekend.”
Win, and the Beavers advance to a semifinal contest at either 4:40 or 7:15 p.m. on Saturday against an opponent yet to be determined. A Saturday victory puts Minot State into the WMCH title game on Sunday at 11 a.m.
(Originally published at https://www.minotdailynews.com/sports/local-sports/2022/02/msu-womens-hockey-preps-for-wmch-tournament/)