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Mekenzie Steffen third-period goal sparks Badgers women’s hockey team past St. Cloud State | Wisconsin Badgers Hockey

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — With no games scheduled for more than a month, the top-ranked University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team was focused on finishing the season’s first half on a strong note Saturday.

Mekenzie Steffen made sure of it.

The junior defenseman broke a tie with under seven minutes remaining in the third period and senior forward Annie Pankowski added an power-play empty-netter as the Badgers defeated St. Cloud State 3-1 to sweep the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series.

Freshman forward Britta Curl also scored for the Badgers (19-1-0, 9-1-0-0 WCHA), who won their 11th consecutive game and defeated the Huskies (5-15-1, 2-12-0-0) for the 17th straight meeting. Junior goaltender Kristen Campbell made 12 saves.

As in Friday’s 8-2 triumph, UW dominated the shot chart. But a strong effort from Huskies goaltender Janine Alder (46 saves) kept it a tight game throughout.

“I thought their goalie played really well but we stuck to our game and found a way to win there in the third period,” Steffen said. “It was just a good way to finish off a really tight game and a good way to end our year.”

Steffen scored her third goal of the season at 13:12 of the third period on a 3-on-1 rush with Curl and Sophie Shirley. Shirley dished to Steffen, who was coming down the middle and scored her third goal of the season.

Pankowski scored with seven seconds left, extending her goal-scoring streak to seven games. Meghan Duggan holds the school record of scoring in nine straight.

UW scored a power-play goal for the fifth consecutive game and leads the country in power-play percentage with a .295 (18-of-61) clip.

St. Clould State 0 1 0 — 1

First period: W — Curl 10 (Roque, Steffen), 5:59.

Second period: SCS — Haeg 2 (Thiessen, Kluge), 10:50 (pp).

Third period: W — Steffen 3 (Shirley), 13:12. W — Pankowski 14 (Bowlby, Clark), 19:53 (pp).

Saves: W (Campbell 2-5-4) 12; SCS (Alder 12-22-12) 46. Power plays: W 1-for-1; SCS 1-for-2. Att. — 347.

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