The 22 shots on goal that the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team recorded in the second period on Saturday was a season high.
But it wasn’t so much the volume of shots that the Badgers got as from where they took them.
Eighteen of those shots came from below the faceoff dots on a jumbled mess of a second-period shot chart that accurately depicted the one-sided nature of the top-ranked Badgers’ 6-1 victory over Syracuse at LaBahn Arena.
Freshman Britta Curl scored twice for her first multiple-goal game for the Badgers. Classmate Sophie Shirley added a second-period goal as the line that’s centered by Abby Roque dominated its shifts on the ice.
“Coach before the game said to get the puck to the net, whatever you have to do — whether it’s shoot it, skate it right into the crease,” Curl said. “I think everyone had that in the front of their minds.”
Curl scored 6:01 into the game on a give-and-go with Roque and made it 5-1 in the third period by tipping a Mekenzie Steffen shot out of the air and past goalie Maddi Welch (48 saves).
Shirley’s goal, a high backhand after a rush to the net from the right side, was the only time the Badgers were able to get one past Welch in the bevy of close-range opportunities.
Roque’s line had nine of the Badgers’ 22 second-period shots and 16 for the game.
“They had a couple shifts there where there would have been highlight goals but the goaltender got in the way, whether it was her glove or the post,” UW coach Mark Johnson. “Those were good things.”
The Badgers (16-1) reached shot heights for a period (22) and game (54) not seen since a contest against St. Cloud State on Jan. 27 last season.
Alexis Mauermann’s first power-play goal of the season, scored with 30.1 seconds left in the first period, put the Badgers ahead 2-1 at the intermission.
UW’s power play conversion percentage fell to 16.7 in November after being at 24.2 in September in October, so Mauermann’s strike was a positive sign for the Badgers for reasons beyond just restoring the lead.
“That’s what I talked about in between the first and the second with the coaching staff: That’s a big goal,” Johnson said. “Now you go into the second period and try to establish yourself and see if you can get a third or fourth one to make some separation.”
The Orange (4-11-1) took advantage of an offensive-zone miscommunication by the Badgers to generate a 3-on-1 rush that senior captain Allie Munroe finished to tie the game 1-1 in the opening period. It ended Syracuse’s goal drought at 146:11, dating to a Nov. 16 game against RIT.
But it was the only time the Orange got a shot past UW goalie Kristen Campbell (12 saves), mostly because the Badgers had the puck for most of the game.
Annie Pankowski and Delaney Drake added to Curl’s goal in the third period as the Badgers pulled away to their eighth straight victory and 41st in 42 games against teams from College Hockey America.
With six goals, UW matched a season high set in the second and third games of the year, Sept. 29 and Oct. 5.
“This year, we’ve struggled sometimes — we’ve played well, we’ve gotten a lot of shots but we couldn’t put any in,” Curl said. “Today, a real positive for us was getting a couple on the board. I think everyone’s happy about that.”
First period: W — Curl 7 (Roque, Shirley), 6:01. S — Munroe 3 (DiGirolamo), 10:26. W — Mauermann 4 (Norby, Shaver), 19:29 (pp). Penalties: Pankowski, W, 12:12; Shirley, W, 15:10; Bench, S, 15:51; Avery, S, 17:57.
Second period: W — Shirley 10 (Rowe), 9:02.
Third period: W — Pankowski 10 (Cogan), :21; Curl 8 (Steffen, Roque), 9:16; Drake 3 (Schneider), 14:12. Penalties: Klimek, S, 17:13.
Saves: S (Welch 15-21-12) 48; W (Campbell 5-4-3) 12. Power plays: S 0-for-2; W 1-for-3. Att. — 2,273.