Quick Hits: Mankato native, former Maverick to play for Team China at Winter Olympics
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Mankato native and former Minnesota State Maverick Rebekah Kolstad was named to Team China for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Kolstad, a graduate of Mankato East High School, played for the Mavericks from 2017-19 after transferring from the University of North Dakota, where she played on the Fighting Hawks’ women’s hockey team from 2015-17.
As a Maverick, Kolstad tallied 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) in 66 games. She finished her collegiate career with 37 points (19g/18a) in 139 games.
Kolstad turned professional after leaving Minnesota State when she signed with the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays in Eurasia’s Zhenskaya Hockey League. She scored eight goals and added five assists during the 2019-20 season.
The Mankato native will join Nina Tikkinen and Emilia (Andersson) Ramboldt as the only Minnesota State women’s hockey players to have played in the Winter Olympics. Tikkinen played for the Finland National Team in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. With Team Sweden, Ramboldt also skated in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, as well as the 2018 Winter Games held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
China opens the Beijing Olympics with a premlinary-round contest against the Czech Republic Sunday, Feb. 3, at 8:10 a.m. local time. The 2022 Winter Olympics will be broadcast on KEYC NBC.
Mary Rominger: “Rob, memories of a lifetime stemmed from Hockey Day Minnesota. My favorite memory was watching David Silye, the transfer from Clarkson University, step up on the biggest stage with the snow falling and scoring a hat trick. What about you?”
Rob Clark: “It was just a cool atmosphere, we were so spoiled here in southern Minnesota. To be able to have an event like this come to the area and, for me, it was the Sunday game between Minnesota State women’s hockey team and St. Thomas. That was the best match-up, and it ended in a 3-1 win for the Mavericks. It was the closest game of the entire weekend, but such a cool atmosphere to take hockey in, and I wish we were outside again this week, to be honest with you.”
MR: “I agree. Well speaking of the Minnesota State women’s hockey team, former women’s player Rebekah Kolstad was announced to go to Beijing and play for Team China in the Winter Olympics. Rob, what do you remember about Kolstad and her time with the Mankato East Cougars and Minnesota State Mavericks?”
RC: “Kolstad is just such a dynamic player, even when she was coming up through Mankato East, then, of course, North Dakota, who unfortunately had their women’s hockey program shut down. But it was a really cool opportunity for Kolstad to come back to MSU and build on that career. It’s great to see her thriving in professional hockey and now getting that opportunity to play on an international stage for Team China.”
MR: “Absolutely. She finished with a 19-18--37 stat line in her time with MSU, and that news came after we learned that forward Nathan Smith and head coach Mike Hastings would also be in Beijing representing Team USA.
“Now, keeping the conversation on the women’s team, a three-game winning streak after they had a bit of a low point with several losses, they’ve strung together a handful of wins, but it’s kind of been the story all season long. Next up, due to the WCHA being so tough, they will play No. 5 Minnesota Duluth.
RC: “The WCHA is the best women’s hockey conference in the nation. To be able to beat Minnesota a week ago, and then sweep St. Thomas, and then here you get No. 5 Minnesota Duluth, it should be another great series. But the way the Mavericks have played, it hasn’t mattered whether they’re playing Wisconsin, Ohio State, or Minnesota, usually they’re able to put it together and make it a pretty competitive game that can really go either way, and with the way they’re playing right now, they can compete with anybody in the nation.”
MR: “It seems like those big first periods when they rack up a couple of goals to make the other team have to climb back, and then it gives you some padding if you let up a goal or two or three in the second or third period. So we’ll see how things shape up against Duluth this upcoming weekend.”
RC: “And how’s this for a milestone watch: Brittyn Flemming currently has 99 career points during her MSU career, so we’ll see if she’s able to get her 100th on the road at Duluth.”
MR: “Beautiful. Well, next we’re talking about the Minnesota State men’s hockey team. Quite the performance against St. Thomas over the weekend, racking up wins of 5-1 and 7-1. David Silye was named CCHA Forward of the Week with his hat trick and then defenseman Jack McNeely was named CCHA Defenseman of the Week with his four points over the course of the series. A high-scoring affair and they played quality hockey and they braved the elements in that second game, still putting up seven goals when the amount of snow accumulating on the ice was pretty hefty.”
RC: “Pretty crazy to see MSU come out and score as many goals as they did in those conditions, but the way this team is playing and just the talent on the ice really shines out there. Such a fast team, and poor St. Thomas this weekend, unfortunately, really was not able to make it too much of a competitive series. That’s just because of all the talent they have right now.”
MR: “And it’s translating to stats league-wide. The Mavericks are ranked first in the nation once again, they lead the CCHA with 23 wins, they’ve won 12 of their last 13 games. It’s really just a lot of winning ways, so now we’ll see if they can keep it up in a non-conference series against Arizona State.”
The Mavericks will take the ice in Duluth at 3:07 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. The men’s hockey team will play Arizona State at 7:07 p.m. on Friday and 6:07 p.m. Saturday at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center.
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