The top-ranked Wisconsin women’s hockey team swept the visiting Bemidji State Beavers in a battle of the Buckys this weekend. While BSU, which also has a mascot named Bucky, came into the game with only two wins, it had been playing much better of late.
Mark Johnson’s crew (13–1–0) knew it needed to bring its best this weekend to keep building its three-game winning streak.
“If you watch their last four or five games, they have played really well,” Johnson said.
“They played well against Minnesota, they played well against Minnesota State, and finally got rewarded last weekend against Ohio State. They’ve got a track record and a history of how they play.”
Unfortunately for the Beavers (2-11-1), Wisconsin took the match very seriously, as the Badgers took both games in dominating fashion.
The Badgers started off with a 5–0 win over the Beavers in Friday night’s first installment of the series.
It was a bit of a sluggish start for UW, as it had two early penalties in the first period and only led shots on goal 5–3 through the first 11 minutes.
However, the Badgers went on to display their full offensive might in the nine minutes of the first frame, out-shooting BSU 12–0 en route to a four-goal first period.
It all started with a great pass from junior Presley Norby to find senior Mikaela Gardner open near the right faceoff circle. Garner’s shot was then redirected in perfectly by senior Sophia Shaver.
Sophomore Delaney Drake must have thought that Shaver was on to something, as she tapped in a redirect by fellow sophomore Caitlin Schneider.
But then freshman Sophie Shirley stole the show, scoring two goals on a pair of assists by junior Abby Roque. These goals were her eighth and ninth, respectively, and she continues to lead the team in goals.
“It is really good for the team,” Roque said. “As we get farther into the season, we should start clicking more and having that flow more.”
“I think now it is, we are making way better passes, making great plays, and I think the flow of the game really helps us play our game as Badger hockey. We want to control the puck when we can and I think having that flow really allows us to do that.”
After a raucous first period for Wisconsin, both teams settled in for the second, but Britta Curl scored the fifth (and final) goal of the game for Wisconsin halfway through the second period. Shirley earned the assist on Curl’s goal, so she earned her first career hat trick with Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s third period had the exact same offensive intensity as the first period. However, it failed to add to its lead. Wisconsin finished the game with an astounding 48–15 shot advantage over BSU, with 48 being the high watermark for shots in a game for the Badgers.
Wisconsin took the second game of the series much in the same way as the first, out-shooting the Beavers 40–12 and shutting out BSU 3–0.
In game one, it was Wisconsin’s youth that led the charge offensively. In the second game, the upper classmen had their way, as Norby, Shaver, and senior Annie Pankowski each scored a goal for Wisconsin.
“It was good, it was the first time we’ve had everyone able to play since nine games ago.” Mark Johnson said.
“It was good, especially coming off break. We had a lot of energy, played six good periods over the weekend so I’m happy with that. Now we have four straight non-conference games coming up.”
Wisconsin has three more series before winter break. It will host Harvard (Nov. 23–24), host Syracuse (Dec. 1–2), and visit St. Cloud (Dec. 7–8).