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McMahon filling playmaking void up front for Bulldogs following departures of Giguere, Klein

A prolific scorer in high school for Maple Grove, Mannon McMahon has stepped up offensively in 2022-23 for the Bulldogs. The season is only halfway done, and McMahon is having a career year.

college women play hockey at arena
Minnesota Duluth forward Mannon McMahon (16) shoots the puck against St. Thomas goaltender Alexa Dobchuk (30) at Amsoil Arena on Friday in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — With the departure of fifth-year seniors Elizabeth Giguere and Anna Klein from last year’s squad that played for a national championship, Minnesota Duluth entered the 2022-23 season with questions concerning a lack of established playmakers up front.

The answer to those questions through 20 games has been senior second-line center Mannon McMahon, who enters the holiday break third on the team in scoring and second on the team in goals and assists. Her 19 points ties the collegiate high she set a year ago as a junior while the seven goals match the combined total she scored in her first three seasons as a Bulldog.

UMD fifth-year senior defenseman Ashton Bell, who spent the 2021-22 season winning gold with the Canadian national and Olympic teams, said McMahon’s game has taken “an insane jump” since the last time they played together in 2020-21.

Minnesota Duluth plays Minnesota in NCAA Division I Regional Final for a trip to Frozen Four
Minnesota Duluth forward Mannon McMahon (16) celebrates with the bench after scoring a goal against Minnesota on Saturday, March 12 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis during the NCAA Women’s Hockey regional final.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

“Her speed is such a threat out there, her feet are always going and she's really deceptive, such a playmaker,” Bell said. “She can also shoot the puck, as well. She's a threat all over the ice and is really strong defensively and offensively. It's been nice to see her capitalize and have a great start to the year so far.”

The 12 assists McMahon has this season are three shy of the career-high of 15 she posted last season when finishing sixth on the team in scoring. Six of her seven goals have come at even strength, which is second on the team to fifth-year senior Anneke Linser scoring all eight of hers even.


McMahon — who had 20-plus goals and 50-plus points as a sophomore, junior and senior at Maple Grove High School — has put up points in 14 of the Bulldogs' 16 games this season, which is tied with fifth-year senior center and leading scorer Gabbie Hughes. McMahon posted two goals and two assists last weekend in the win and tie against St. Thomas to close out the 2022 portion of the Bulldogs schedule.

Friday’s goal saw McMahon weave her way through a pack of purple to the slot for her shot, reminiscent of what Klein and Giguere did a year ago for UMD.

“Every time she hits the ice, she's electric,” Crowell said after Friday’s win. “With a little more time and space tonight, I love the way she was holding on to the puck in the offensive zone and making people chase her down and finding that open ice and getting herself into good spots to either pass or score.”

With Giguere and Klein both now playing in the Premier Hockey Federation, Hughes has been shuffling linemates all season on the top line, recently settling in between Linser and fifth-year senior wing Taylor Anderson.
McMahon has been fortunate to be back between her wingers from last season’s run to the Frozen Four — junior Clara Van Wieren and sophomore Gabby Krause. McMahon credited them last weekend for her rising success to start the season.

“My linemates have been doing a great job,” McMahon said. “They're super dynamic and they work extremely hard, especially down below the goalline — Clara beating her checks all the time and then Krause is just a threat in front of the net. It's a lot of fun to play with those two.”

college women compete in hockey game
Minnesota Duluth forward Mannon McMahon (16) celebrates with Minnesota Duluth forward Clara Van Wieren (25) after she scored a goal against Ohio State at Amsoil Arena on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Bulldogs at the break

UMD is in the midst of a 27-day layoff following last Saturday’s “bad” tie against St. Thomas at Amsoil Arena. The Bulldogs return to action Jan. 7-8 at Wisconsin, who UMD split with back in late October at Amsoil Arena.


The Bulldogs sit fourth in the WCHA with 22 points through 14 games, and it will be difficult to climb much higher with the third-place Badgers 15 points ahead. Fifth-place St. Cloud State is just three points back and sixth-place Minnesota State is six behind UMD, though both the Huskies and Mavericks have played 16 league games this season.

In the still-too-early version of the Pairwise rankings, UMD is on the outside of the NCAA tournament bubble, but with series against Wisconsin and Minnesota, there will be chances to jump up in the second half. What UMD can’t do is have another bad result like last Saturday’s against St. Thomas. They need to rack up regulation win after regulation win as five of its final seven series of the regular season against against the bottom half of the WCHA.

Bell, Soderberg, Skodova join national teams

Ice Hockey - Women's Prelim. Round - Group A - United States v Canada
Ann-Renee Desbiens and Ashton Bell of Canada celebrate a victory during the 2022 Olympics at Wukesong Sports Centre in Beijing, China on Feb. 8.
Brian Snyder / Reuters

Three Bulldogs are playing for their respective national teams over the almost month-long break.

Bell is back with Canada for the final two Rivalry Series games against the United States happening Thursday in Henderson, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas, and Monday in Los Angeles. The U.S. swept the first three games — which Bell didn’t play in — in November in British Columbia and Seattle.

Goaltenders Emma Soderberg of Sweden and Blanka Skodova of Czechia are both playing for their respective national teams this week in the Women’s Euro Hockey Tour Five-Nations tournament in Angelholm and Helsingborg, Sweden. Other countries taking part include Germany, Switzerland and Finland.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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A 25-year veteran of the NCAA, Mark Bedics has worked over 100 NCAA championship events, including the men's and women's NCAA Frozen Four.
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