Lineup changes in store for home series against Mankato

Coach Laura Halldorson said the team will tweak the lineup again.

Zach Eisendrath

Following a subpar performance last weekend in Columbus, Ohio, Minnesota’s women’s hockey team will look to rebound this weekend.

The fifth-ranked Gophers (17-8-1, 12-7-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) host Minnesota State at 7 tonight at Ridder Arena, while the puck will drop at 4 p.m. Saturday at Mariucci Arena.

In hopes of regaining the momentum they thought they lost after a 3-2 overtime loss Saturday against Ohio State, Minnesota has made a few adjustments for this weekend’s series.

“We’ve tweaked our lineup once again,” coach Laura Halldorson said. “We’re still looking for the combinations we feel will be our long-term answer.”

Halldorson said the team will need to put forth a better effort this weekend.

“From last weekend, the biggest thing was we didn’t skate. We didn’t move our feet. I don’t think we had the intensity to play a team of Ohio State’s caliber. We need to work harder this weekend.”

In early December, when Minnesota traveled to Mankato, the Mavericks (11-12-3, 8-10-2) provided the Gophers with a stiff challenge. Minnesota escaped with a 1-0 victory in the first game of the series, but the teams tied 1-1 the second night.

Sophomore Bobbi Ross said the team expects another test this weekend.

“I think we’ve got a lot to prove coming into this weekend,” she said. “First of all, this is a home series. I think every time we are at home right now we want to prove that we can win at home both days and play a full 120 minutes of hockey. Based on what happened last weekend, we just want to come out with a lot to prove and just on fire.”

Halldorson said she hopes this weekend’s series gives the team newfound confidence at home. Minnesota has been mediocre on its home ice all season long with a 7-6 record.

“We should have pride in people coming to our barn in front of our fans,” Halldorson said. “Hopefully that will be the case because we don’t have too many games left at home.”