The Wisconsin women's hockey team fell in a pair of close contests to the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs on the road, coming up short in a comeback effort Saturday and struggling offensively Sunday. Those losses mark the first time the Badgers have fallen in a series sweep this season.
Wisconsin had earned three points against Minnesota-Duluth earlier in the year as the Badgers earned a win and tie over the Bulldogs at the Kohl Center Dec. 4 and 6. Although Wisconsin has had issues against weaker opponents, it has stepped up in its games against strong opponents. The Badgers were 3-0-1 against No. 2 Minnesota and No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth heading into last weekend's series.
Wisconsin notched the opening goal of the series as freshman forward Breann Frykas scored on a rebound in the first period of Saturday's game. However, a pair of Duluth goals gave the Bulldogs a lead they did not give up.
Minnesota-Duluth scored four unanswered goals and jumped out to a 4-1 lead 2:34 into the second period before the Badgers began their comeback. Goals from freshman forward Brianna Decker and junior forward Carolyne Prevost brought Wisconsin back within one early in the third period.
But despite outshooting the Bulldogs throughout the game, Minnesota-Duluth put the contest out of reach with a final score from Bulldog freshman forward Jessica Wong. For the sixth time, Wisconsin dropped the opening game of a series—the Badgers are 2-6-2 in series openers.
Wisconsin has faired much better in the second game of series this year, notching a 9-1-1 record coming into the series in Duluth. But against one of the top teams in the WCHA and women's hockey as a whole, the Badgers fell in the series finale.
Scoring was hard to come by for both teams, as Wisconsin senior goaltender Alannah McCready and Bulldog freshman goalie Jennifer Harss battled throughout the game. Minnesota-Duluth struck first with a four-on-four goal in the opening period.
The Bulldogs added another goal early in the second period to increase their lead, but a goal from junior defender Geena Prough brought the Badgers within one. However, Harss held strong through the final period to help the Bulldogs to a 2-1 win and improve their record to 15-7-2.
Wisconsin must now recover from its first sweep since 2007 and will face St. Cloud State at the Kohl Center this weekend. When the teams last met Nov. 20-21 the Badgers won the opening game of the series but fell in the second.
—uwbadgers.com contributed to this report.