Minnesota State started the New Year on the right skate by hosting the Korean National Team Tuesday night. The Mavericks put veteran goaltender Katie Bidulka in goal, while Korea used their favorite starter, So Jung Shin. Korea’s Se Lin Kim logged the first shot of the game, but then MSU suppressed the National Team’s offensive capabilities for the rest of the period, though neither team managed many shots in the first ten minutes. At 2:02 Tristen Truax scored from the left side unassisted. Emma Wittchow nearly widened the lead with a shot from the left side and Sara Bustad caught the rebound before firing from the slot, but Shin flung herself onto the puck onto the puck to make the save.
Susie Jo takes a delayed interference penalty and Mavericks nearly scored on the right side before their power play kicked in at 9:36. MSU pulled off some stellar puck cycling and stay on the offensive for the entire two minutes, but Anna Keys’s lone shot of the power play went straight into Shin’s glove. Ye Eun Park made Korea’s second shot of the game with less than seven minutes in the period. Then Hee Won Kim went for hooking Hannah Davidson at 15:58. The National Team did a better job keeping the Mavericks out of their zone this time and eventually killed the penalty. Mankato dominated the period, leading shots 14-3, but they had a notable flurry at the end, which was foiled by Shin’s sliding saves.
Second period started with a bit of end-to-end puck chasing before Davidson earned a hooking penalty at 2:11. Korea mounted a decent offense with the skater advantage, but their only shot—by Chae Lin Park—went wide and once the penalty expired they were back on the defense. MSU caused a mess on Shin’s doorstep and eventually Mariah Gardner knocked the puck into the back of the net at 6:29. Gardner’s sister, Demi Gardner, and Jordan McLaughlin assisted.
With a 2-0 lead in an exhibition game Minnesota State decided to replace Bidulka in goal with Chloe Crosby at 9:40. Within seconds of getting between the pipes, Crosby had to ward off multiple National Team shots in what was Korea’s best offensive assault of the night. Then the Mavericks were back in control and puck cycling while at even strength. Jin Kyoung Im managed a shot through traffic, which Crosby batted away, and then Jordan Jackson blocked Jong Ah Park’s shot before the period ended.
The rink racing third period ended when Truax’s shot slid into goal just under the cross bar while Shin was still in a butterfly at 2:50. Rebekah Kolstad and Wittchow assisted on Truax’s second goal of the game. A Maverick sent a Korean player into Korea’s net without the puck, but it wasn’t called and the referees mostly let the teams play for the rest of the game. Kolstad nearly scored and the rest of the game was spent with the puck mostly in MSU’s control as they lazily attempted to up their final score. McKenzie Sederberg made a serious attempt on goal when she flew down the left side and buried her shot in Shin’s central mass. Then near the end of the period Gardner sisters made a beautiful tic-tac-toe play, but Shin went from pipe to pipe with every shift of the puck and blocked the shot. In the end MSU outshot Korea 39-13 and Crosby kept the National Team scoreless, thus completing the shutout.
After regulation officially ended in a 3-0 Minnesota State victory there was a shootout. Keys, Truax, and Sofia Poinar shot for Mankato, while Yoon Jung Park, Ji Yeon Choi, and Im went for Korea. Keys’s shot went wide, but Truax scored—unofficially completing the hat trick—and Poinar did as well. Crosby denied all three National Team members, which probably stung a little after the shutout. MSU’s only regret from the game was that this exhibition didn’t do a thing for their conference standings. If the Mavericks could get this sort of dominance during a WCHA game, they could do something amazing with the second half of the season.