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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024

More Gopher on the menu

It is win or go home for the No. 6 UW women's hockey team, and the Badgers (14-6-4 Western Collegiate Hockey Association, 21-7-5 overall) find themselves preparing to take on a familiar foe. 




Last weekend the Badgers hosted the Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-4-1, 26-5-1) in Madison and came out with a 2-1 victory on Friday and a 2-0 loss on Saturday, which snapped the team's nine-game winning streak. The streak set a new school record and, at the time, was the longest in the country. 




The next time the Badgers and Gophers face off will be this Friday in Grand Forks, N.D. for the WCHA Women's Final Five Tournament. 




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Though playing the same team three times in a row may be monotonous for some teams, it is anything but that for this set of rivals.  




\I think it's good,"" junior forward Karen Rickard said. ""We get so pumped up to play them."" 




""I wouldn't have it any other way,"" sophomore defender Carla McLeod said. ""I think it's great."" 




Starting off their post-season against the No. 3 team in the nation does not scare the Badgers or their coach.  




""They're not intimidating,"" Head Coach Mark Johnson said. ""They're not better than us."" 




Although Wisconsin and Minnesota have seen much of each other, the Badgers do not plan on changing their approach to the game. 




""We've been doing the same thing all year long,"" Rickard said. ""It's been working well for us so we don't need to change anything."" 




""We're going to keep things the same and hope we score some goals,"" McLeod said. 




However, goals will not come easily as the Badgers are going up against the conference's stingiest goalie in Minnesota's Jody Horak. The sophomore net-minder has both a league-leading .932 save percentage and the respect of UW. 




""Somehow we have to get the puck past their goal tender,"" Johnson said. ""If we can get three, four, five goals, our chances are pretty good."" 




The Badgers will also rely on its tough defensive tactics. 




""We only gave up three goals over the weekend to a top three team and that's pretty good,"" Johnson said. ""So defensively we're playing solid."" 




The Badgers know what they have to do to win in the Final Five and earn a NCAA Frozen Four birth.  




""We have to keep going at them,"" Rickard said. ""Keep tiring them out, hit them hard and get the puck in deep."" 




""We need to pressure their D and keep the pressure going,"" McLeod said. ""And if some of their key players do get the puck, we need to jump on them right away."" 




With its confidence high, Wisconsin heads into tournament play looking forward to the possibility of realizing some early-season goals.  




""All season we tried to make it so our games mattered in March,"" McLeod said. ""And this game matters.\

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