Despite being without the services of several key players, the No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) cruised to a weekend sweep of the Lindenwood Lady Lions (0-2) to start the season.
Sophomore goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens and senior forward Blayre Turnbull, the team’s captain, were among the five UW players who were at the Canadian National Hockey Team Fall Festival and thus unable to make the trip to Missouri.
But this didn’t seem to have too big of an impact on the Badgers, as they outscored Lindenwood 11-1 in two games.
Wisconsin kicked things off Friday night with a 5-1 victory, including three goals within the game’s first 12 minutes. Senior forward Katy Josephs led the way with two goals and an assist, and the Badgers as a team peppered junior goaltender Nicole Hensley with 54 shots. Senior forward Karley Sylvester, junior forward Erika Sowchuk and sophomore forward Sydney McKibbon also scored for Wisconsin.
Redshirt junior goaltender Megan Miller, a transfer from Boston College, made nine saves and picked up the win in her UW debut.
The Badgers looked even better Saturday night, as six different players found the back of the net in their 6-0 victory. Josephs, Sylvester, Sowchuk, McKibbon, redshirt sophomore Mikayla Johnson and sophomore defenseman Jenny Ryan all lit the lamp for Wisconsin.
Though UW’s balanced scoring attack was impressive, the most notable performance of the night came courtesy of junior goaltender Jorie Walters.
Walters turned aside 19 shots and pitched a shutout in the first start of her career.
Freshman forward Annie Pankowski also was solid during Saturday’s win, recording four assists for her first points as a Badger. Overall, six different players scored a goal and 10 players recorded an assist for Wisconsin over the weekend.
It was a tremendous opening series for UW, who outshot the Lady Lions 102-29 during the two games, despite the fact that it was missing some of its best players.
However, the results shouldn’t have been all that surprising given how dominating the Badgers have been against Lindenwood over the past several years.
Wisconsin has beaten the Lady Lions in all eight of their regular season meetings since 2011, outscoring them 60-6 along the way.
The Badgers will be at full strength when they head west next weekend to complete their four-game road trip against Minnesota-Duluth, after which they’ll return home to face Ohio State in their WCHA opener.