With just over a minute to go in the third period, the Wisconsin women's hockey team looked set to claim a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Wayne State Thursday night. But when a loose puck bounced off the boards and onto the stick of the Warriors' freshman forward Gina Buquet, she found herself with an open shot at the Wisconsin goal and scored to tie the game.
Minutes earlier, senior forward Kyla Sanders capped off sustained Wisconsin pressure in the Wayne State zone with a goal to give the Badgers the lead, but Buquet's goal seemed to suck the air out of Wisconsin. The Badgers never recovered from the late goal, going scoreless in both the overtime and shootout periods while the Warriors notched the difficult win.
Although Wisconsin earned one point Thursday, the loss is its fifth of the season, all of which have come in the first game of a series. Head coach Tracey DeKeyser said the loss was difficult to take, especially considering how close the team came to earning a win.
""We're trying to end a pattern here of not coming out strong and not being able to finish the first night,"" she said. ""So let's go back to the drawing board and figure out a way to win this first game.""
In the first period, the Badgers jumped out to an early lead when junior forward Geena Prough skated past a Wayne State defender and took a pass from sophomore forward Brooke Ammerman for the goal. However, when senior forward Jasmine Giles was called for hooking, the Warriors responded with a goal just 14 seconds into the power play to even the score at one.
Neither team scored until Sanders' goal in the third period, which only came on a rebound from a barrage of Wisconsin shots.
After the late, game-tying goal, both teams were scoreless in overtime and the game went to a shootout, when Wayne State freshman forward Julie Hebert beat freshman goaltender Becca Ruegsegger top shelf. No Badger players could beat Warriors senior goaltender Lindsey Park and the team took home a demoralizing loss.
Sanders said the late goal was demoralizing, but the team has to do a better job responding to those kind of momentum changes.
""It hurts but we have to bounce back from that,"" she said. ""We have to dig deep and try and score in that last minute.""
Wisconsin will face the Warriors in the series' second game Friday at 2 p.m.