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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, September 29, 2023

Freshmen come up big after upset loss to Sioux

On a weekend that began with a message from head coach Mark Johnson, a highlight video from their national championship run in the 2008-'09 season and the unveiling of a banner celebrating that achievement, the Wisconsin women's hockey team quickly learned that their opponents would not bow down and let the Badgers cakewalk to another title.

Wisconsin opened its season against North Dakota and suffered a surprising 2-0 upset Friday that interim head coach Tracey DeKeyser said was a wake-up call to the team. The next night, a number of impressive performances from Badger freshmen carried them to a 3-0 win.

""We knew we had it in us, we just couldn't execute,"" DeKeyser said about Wisconsin's season-opening loss.

In the first two periods of Friday's defeat, the Badgers had a number of good opportunities to score but couldn't convert their chances into goals. A pesky North Dakota defense and strong play from freshman goaltender Jorid Dagfinrud combined to keep Wisconsin off of the scoreboard for the game.

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""They did a good job of taking away the middle of the ice from us, and we didn't play to the perimeter,"" DeKeyser said.

""We couldn't really get much through,"" senior forward and team captain Jasmine Giles added.

Giles and her new linemates, sophomore Brooke Ammerman and freshman Brianna Decker, watched as a number of scoring chances slipped by. A second-effort goal by North Dakota's freshman forward Ashley Furia and another that went off the stick of a Badger defender were the difference in Friday's game.

An undisciplined third period meant that most of the time Wisconsin wanted to spend scoring goals was used up killing penalties, and the Badgers suffered their first loss of the year.

As someone who was a part of two national championship-winning teams, Giles said after the game that she was not exactly accustomed to losing, but that it could motivate the team.

""I'm definitely not used to it since I've been here,"" she said. ""It's something that we do need. We didn't deserve to win tonight.""

When the Badgers took the ice for Saturday's game, however, they were much more aggressive. That energy paid off, as Decker scored her first collegiate goal to give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead in the first period.

More freshmen contributed in the second period when forward Lauren Unser scored her first goal as a Badger off of an assist from freshman defender Stefanie McKeough.

Later in the second, Decker stickhandled around Sioux defenders and notched her second goal of the game, following the puck into the North Dakota net and crashing hard into the goal. Decker had to be helped off of the ice and did not return to the game.

DeKeyser later said she did not know what Decker hurt on the play, or if she would have to miss playing time because of the injury.

Freshman goaltender Becca Reugsegger earned a shutout in her first start, after she was given the nod over senior goaltender Alannah McCready, who started Friday. DeKeyser said she would look at how Reugsegger and McCready perform in practice before making a decision for the team's next series against Bemidji State Oct. 10 and 11, but complemented Reugsegger's play in goal.

""She's very aggressive outside of the net,"" DeKeyser said. ""That's one of her strengths and she played to it.""

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