Klippenstein, Krichiver help Minnesota State end 2013 with victory over Lindenwood


MANKATO, Minn. — Minnesota State’s Melissa Klippenstein scored twice to propel her team to a 3-0 win over visiting Lindenwood on Tuesday.

Erin Krichiver turned aside 25 shots to earn the shutout between the pipes for the Mavericks (7-12-0, 3-11-0-0 WCHA).

“It’s no mystery; we’ve given up a lot of shots, especially when we play the North Dakotas, Wisconsins, Minnesotas, we’ve given up a lot of rubber,” MSU coach Eric Means said. “And that’s one of the reasons we’re giving [Danielle] Butters a little bit of a break, because she can’t see that much rubber over the course of an entire season and be fresh. And it’s been great; [Krichiver] has stepped in and she’s been great for us.”

Natalie Stoltz added an empty-net goal.

Lindenwood (2-17-2, 2-7-1 CHA) came out with an aggressive forecheck and bottled up the Mavericks in the opening minutes, but the hosts capitalized on their first scoring chance 4:50 into the game. Kari Lundberg got the puck to Klippenstein in front and the senior wing banged it into the net.

“It was a pass out from behind the net, and I kind of pulled off my post a little bit, which I shouldn’t have done,” Lions goalie Nicole Hensley said. “It’s always difficult when the first shot is from in close or something like that. After that, I thought we bounced back really well and played hard.”

Defenseman Lauren Barnes also assisted.

“I thought they played very well from the start of the game and it was nice that Melissa was able to put one in to give us a 1-0 lead, because I didn’t think we were playing really well,” Means said. “Mostly, you can credit them for how hard they came out.”

Shots after the first period were only 10-9 in Minnesota State’s favor.

“We’ve really paid attention to the systems play,” Lions coach Vince O’Mara said. “That showed pretty decently in that first period, and then in the second period it allowed us to play well for the majority of that second period.”

Klippenstein struck again on a second-period power play to up the margin to 2-0. She took a shot from the right circle using a defender as a screen; Hensley got a piece of the puck but it found the net inside the far post. Dani Scholzen and Kelsie Scott had the helpers.

“It was nice that Melissa was able to get another one on the power play for us,” Means said. “The encouraging thing is that I thought we got better as the game went along. In the third period, I thought we were much better than we were at any time earlier in the game.”

Minnesota State had a 23-6 advantage in shots in the final frame, but Hensley denied everything other than the Stoltz tally with Hensley off for an extra attacker. Lundberg and Klippenstein assisted on the empty-net goal.

“All season long, as well as we’ve been playing defensively, we’re just having trouble finishing,” O’Mara said. “One of the keys to our game today was capitalizing on the turnovers we created. We’re having trouble as a team finishing right now.”

The two teams go at it again on New Year’s Day with a 2:07 p.m. CST puck drop at All Seasons Arena.