• By Philip Green

Return of MSU women's hockey

Minot State has been without athletics for much of the fall semester. The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) canceled all fall sports for 2020. NSIC athletics are set to return after the new year, and winter sports like basketball and wrestling recently released their schedules for the upcoming season.

Minot State men’s and women’s hockey, who are not members of the NSIC, have been able to play a few exhibition games this fall and will start their regular season in the spring semester. Sophomore women’s goalie Lexi Beuker highlighted what can be expected of the Beavers for the upcoming season.

“The fans of Minot State hockey can expect a great season once we begin again in the spring semester. The women’s team has been working extremely hard this fall semester to get back to and better than the compete level we were at last year. The girls and I put in lots of hours on and off the ice in order to bring our A game to the ice when we begin our regular season,” Beuker said.

Just before their departure for the national tournament last year and their chase for a national title, the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. The goal remains the same this year.

“Our team has one big goal, which is to win nationals after we had the opportunity taken away from us last year due to the national tournament being canceled. There is nothing we would like more as a whole and for the school, than to bring home a national title for the university,” Beuker said.

The Beavers don’t just want to prove that they are the best in the nation, but they want to do it while intimidating all those who step on the ice to play them.

“We want to be that team that everyone hates to play because we are a pain to their systems,” Beuker explained.

Much like the rest of the sports world, the ongoing pandemic has led to a new normal for Minot State women’s hockey.

“Covid-19 has caused a few changes to our hockey schedule. We now have a limited capacity per game, which is capped at 50 fans right now, but we also offer streaming online through our YouTube channel so you can still support the Beavers without being in the rink. Our team will be involved in rapid testing in the spring semester which will help to keep our team safe, which will also help our season to continue. The only other regulation that causes some major changes within our team is that we wear masks everywhere as it takes away from seeing all of the smiles after a great practice or a big win,” Beuker said.

The Beavers have had a lot of success on the ice the past several seasons. Beuker highlighted players that fans can expect to have big seasons in the spring,

“This year, our captain Sami Jo Henry and our assistant captain Haley Wickham, I think will have huge seasons. In our preseason, they showed great speed and skill, especially when they knew we needed a goal.

One of our incoming freshmen, Gillian Gervin, proved that she will be a big impact player on the ice as she tested in as the fastest skater. With all our power forwards, I also have to give credit to the D-core which includes Mackenzie Heide, Sarah Martin, and our transfer student Jessica Walker who’s slapshot has the power and precision to find the back of the net,” Beuker said.

There are several series fans can look forward to watching next semester.

“Our first set of games when we come back from break will be big games for us. Jan. 15 and 16, we take on one of our toughest opponents, which will set the standard for us for the rest of the season. In February, we fly to and face off against Liberty University for a three-game series (Feb. 5-7) which is our largest competitor next to Adrian. These two series are ones I know I am most looking forward to as they will likely be the opponents we face off against at the national tournament in April,” Beuker explained.

The Beavers will make their return to the ice on Jan. 15 and 16, when they will face Adrian College. Fans are encouraged to sign up for the raffle to be one of the 50 members allowed into games. The women’s hockey games will also be streamed live on YouTube.

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