Thanks to strong performances from a variety of players, the No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers (4-0-0 overall, 2-0-0 WCHA) cruised to a road series sweep of the No. 10 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (1-3-1, 0-2-2) in their WCHA opener.
It was just the third time in program history that UW swept the Bulldogs in Duluth.
Freshman forward Emily Clark shined in her collegiate debut, recording two goals and an assist to lead the Badgers to a 4-1 win on Friday night.
After a scoreless first period, Clark got Wisconsin on the board with 4:22 left in the second frame. She would score again midway through the third period to give UW a 2-0 lead.
Minnesota-Duluth cut the deficit to one on a goal by senior forward Zoe Hickel, but the Badgers scored two empty-net goals to put the game away.
Sophomore goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens made 14 saves for Wisconsin in her season debut.
The Bulldogs struck first in Saturday night’s contest, with Hickel finding the back of the net with 6:47 remaining in the first period. However, senior forward Blayre Turnbull and sophomore forward Sarah Nurse each scored to give UW the lead heading into the first intermission.
The Badgers carried that momentum into the second period, scoring three more goals to take control of the game. Each team scored once in the final frame, and Wisconsin completed the two-game sweep with a 6-2 victory.
Turnbull and Nurse both finished the game with a pair of goals, with senior forward Karley Sylvester and sophomore defenseman Mellissa Channell each scoring as well for the Badgers.
Sophomore forward Sydney McKibbon and freshman forward Annie Pankowski both recorded two assists in Saturday night’s win. For Pankowski, she now has seven total assists through the first four games of her collegiate career.
As a team, Wisconsin outshot Minnesota-Duluth 77-39 over the weekend, and killed off all seven of the Bulldogs’ power plays. It has been an excellent start for the Badgers’ penalty-killing unit, as they are a perfect 14-for-14 on penalty kills so far this season.
UW will return home to LaBahn Arena next weekend for its home opener against Ohio State, followed by a huge series against top-ranked Minnesota the following week.