MANKATO — When the season started, Minnesota State women’s hockey coach Eric Means said senior Lauren Smith needed to be a player who finished the myriad scoring chances she has gotten over her first three seasons.
Smith hasn’t just become a finisher, but she’s now one goal shy of the Mavericks’ single-season goal-scoring record with eight games still to play.
“She’s put them away this year,” Means said. “And she’s scoring them in a bunch of ways — tips, rebounds, power plays.”
Smith has 17 goals, along with nine assists, to lead the Mavericks in scoring, going into this weekend’s home series against No. 9 North Dakota.
The record of 18 is held by Michelle Sikich (1998-99) and Melanie Salatino (2003-04).
Means isn’t just hoping Smith ties and breaks the record, but he wants to see a few more of his players get in on the action over the final month of the season.
“We need consistent production throughout our lineup,” he said. “Anytime anyone scores besides Smith and (Tracy) McCann, we usually find a way to win.”
McCann is second on the team with 11 goals and eight assists. No one else has more than five goals.
“Secondary scoring,” Means said.
Smith also ranks third on MSU’s career scoring list with 84 points, 11 shy of second place.
The Mavericks (9-14-3, 5-12-3 in WCHA) split a series with North Dakota on Oct. 5-6 in Grand Forks. In the 3-2 win, Smith had two goals and McCann had one.
Minnesota State, which is in sixth place in the WCHA, is 14 points behind fifth-place UND in the standings with eight regular-season games remaining.
“We have to play our best,” Means said. “It should get us ready for the playoffs.”
Gustavus women’s player Lindsey Hjelm was named MIAC player of the week after scoring five points in the sweep of Concordia last weekend.