Mandan is establishing itself as a consistent competitor in the world of girls hockey after three straight state tournament appearances.

It’s been nearly a perfect start to the season for the Mandan Braves. Nearly perfect, with the exception of falling behind in two of those games, but that’s where this Braves team is different.

“Before, you know, that one goal kind of puts us back on our heels and we don’t maybe finish the fight or finish a game out,” Braves’ head coach Ben Hertz said. “The first three games of the season have been the opposite way. (It) didn’t stop us, didn’t change our attack, didn’t change our planning and we finished.”

This program has more experience than ever before, which is leading them to a new mentality.

“I think our maturity of it’s never over,” junior Madison Hertz said. “The game isn’t over until the final buzzer, so we’re just trying to implement that in the girls mind that are younger. That you can overcome it and the game isn’t over until the final buzzer goes.”

With maturity and growth comes a new opportunity to improve, and the focal point for the Braves has been on the net. They’re emphasizing quality over quantity in a system where veteran players can separate the two.

“If we take more shots and miss the net that’s not a good opportunity for us,” junior Mallory Brahos said. “It’s better to have a good quality shot to get rebounds or tips off of than just a shot to the glass or a shot where no ones at the net.”

The new approach is working well. with the Braves lighting the lamp 19 times in the first three games., and their approach off the ice is helping just as much.

“Just trying to stay super positive on the bench is been one of probably the main things that I can say it’s brought creativity and offense to the team that’s just been awesome,” Ben Hertz said.