The Wisconsin women's hockey team recorded its fourth split series of the season over the weekend, dropping game one of its series to the Robert Morris Colonials and coming back to win a thrilling game two in overtime on a goal from sophomore forward Brooke Ammerman.
Wisconsin (5-3-0 WCHA, 6-4-0 overall) came into the weekend after sweeping a series with Minnesota. Robert Morris also entered the weekend coming off a sweep, having taken two games from Maine.
The Badgers' inability to establish their offense early in game one proved costly. After a scoreless first period, Robert Morris took control in the second with two goals from freshman forward Jennifer Kindret, heading into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
In the third period, a thrilling play could have served as a turning point for the Badgers.
Four and a half minutes into the period, Wisconsin freshman goaltender Becca Ruegsegger blocked a series of Robert Morris shots. In the chaos, the puck bounced off the top of the goal, and a Robert Morris player missed scoring by mere inches.
Momentum seemed to shift to the Badgers, as minutes later, freshman defender Saige Pacholok scored off an assist from junior forward Mallory Deluce to cut the Colonials' lead in half.
But Wisconsin failed to score again for the rest of the game, and the Colonials added an open net goal in the game's final minute to take game one 3-1.
Wisconsin head coach Tracey DeKeyser said Robert Morris' stacking of the defense in front of the goal made it difficult for the Badger offense to score.
""Not a very pretty or sophisticated defense,"" DeKeyser said. ""It's just effective.""
Wisconsin got the scoring going first in game two as senior forward Emily Kranz notched a goal with just over four minutes left in the first period. The Badgers and Colonials both scored one goal apiece in the second period, and this time Wisconsin went into the intermission with the lead.
After Robert Morris tied the game 2-2, the Badgers' defense stepped up and pushed the game into overtime. With 1:30 left in regulation, senior goaltender Alannah McCready was pushed out of the goal, but several Wisconsin defenders dove to stop the puck from rolling into the net.
In overtime, McCready put on her own defensive display, blocking a Colonials penalty shot and extending the game for the Badgers. Minutes later, Ammerman scored the game-winning goal to give the Badgers the 3-2 win and series split.
Ammerman talked after the game of how important it is for the offense to establish itself early on.
""I think when we go down, maybe sometimes we're not as resilient as we should be,"" Ammerman said.
McCready got the start Saturday against the Colonials over freshman goaltender Becca Ruegsegger. McCready made 37 saves on 41 shots for the series.
McCready said despite getting few starts earlier, she remained focused during the week and was ready to play.
""You just have to work in practice every day, no matter what's happening,"" she said.
Wisconsin now prepares to host Wayne State this weekend. Game time is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. and Friday at 2 p.m.