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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 25, 2024
Blayre Turnbull

It doesn’t get much better than what happened on UW captain Blayre Turnbull’s Senior Night: a hat trick.

Women's Hockey: UW takes win and tie from transitioning Minnesota-Duluth

The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (12-8-4-2 WCHA, 17-8-5 overall) have had no shortage of drama this season. This weekend’s series against the Badgers (17-4-3-1,22-4-4) was par for the course.

This match-up between two Top 10 teams began Friday night in what would prove to be a playoff atmosphere, living up the duel expected from their standings.

Neither team could get their offense going early as both defenses held strong. The Badgers, who lead the nation averaging more than 42 shots on goal per game, could only amass 10 through the first period, while holding the Bulldogs to just four over that same stretch. Great feats of goaltending by both teams kept the game scoreless.

Wisconsin came out attacking in the second period, and as the shots kept coming, Duluth junior goaltender Kayla Black kept saving them. Each team had two power plays in the period, and their respective penalty kills were on point.

“Their goaltender played very well, and they defend well.” Wisconsin coach Mark Johnson said. “When there’s a breakdown, they block shots and do a lot of the little things that make it hard to get a second or third opportunity.”

As the third period began with zeros on the scoreboard, both teams seemed to ramp up the aggression. Everyone on the ice appeared to skate a little faster, shoot a little harder, and really give that extra effort on every play.

Yet, as both teams saw opportunities arise, their respective defenses were quick to shut them down. The Badgers and Bulldogs each had some break away shots and each seemed to get the looks they wanted, but impressive defensive performances sent the game into overtime.

“You just have to keep shooting.” sophomore center Sydney McKibbon said. “When you have 40 shots on net, you just have to keep shooting and eventually it’s going to go in.”

The five minutes of overtime came and went without a shot going in, and the game went to a shootout to determine who gets the all-important second point for the game.

Both goaltenders saved in the first round, but the Badgers sent out freshman phenom forward Annie Pankowski out in the second, and she delivered like she has all season.

UW sophomore goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens made another save, and Wisconsin seemingly had the game in hand, before sophomore Bulldog center Katerina Mrázová found the back of the net in the third round, extending the shootout.

The Badgers then turned to McKibbon, who put the team back in the advantage as she put the puck around Black. Desbiens sealed the win the save, and the crowd erupted.

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“It’s very competitive. Both teams played hard. Both teams defended well.” Johnson said. “Obviously, when either team got an opportunity, both goaltenders played very well. It was a hard fought game and neither group was able to capitalize on the opportunities.”

After the scoreless draw in the Friday night game, the Badger’s offense exploded Saturday night, scoring a whopping five times. The second game of the series was also a special one, as Wisconsin honored its five seniors, captain Blayre Turnbull, Karley Sylvester, Katy Josephs, Brittany Ammerman, and Katarina Zgraja.

Turnbull turned in a game from a script straight out of Hollywood, scoring her first career hat trick on Senior Night. She also became the first Wisconsin player in history to score all three of her goals on a power play. Nonetheless, Turnbull came out after the game and showed everyone why she’s the captain of this team.

“The main thing is that we won. So that was better for me than getting a hat trick,” Turnbull said.

The floodgates opened up halfway through the first period, as Turnbull took the puck into the offensive zone on the power play. She beat a defender one on one up the right wing and then snapped a backhand past Duluth’s goaltender for a 1-0 lead.

Five minutes later, the Badgers found themselves with a five on three advantage after a pair of Duluth penalties. Junior defensemen Courtney Burke fired a shot from the point that ricocheted off Black right in front of the net. Pankowski was there for an easy tap in and Wisconsin took a two goal lead.

With 2:12 left to play, Wisconsin again had a five on three power play and again capitalized. After a Burke shot, Pankowski fired the rebound back, which was stopped by Black but not well enough. The rebound came out to the slot where Turnbull hammered it home into an empty net, notching her second of the night.

Johnson emphasized the importance of the special teams after the game.

“The power play tonight, especially the five on three in the first period, changed the game,” Johnson said. They weren’t able to capitalize on their opportunities and we came away with three there in the first period.”

The second period saw five power plays, three for Wisconsin and two for Duluth, but much stronger defense on both ends. All of the penalties were killed off and both goaltenders were stout. After the three goal first period, Duluth opted to switch their goalie to freshman backup Evelina Suonpää, who put together a solid outing for her first collegiate appearance, making 19 saves on 21 shots.

Desbiens, who missed a couple days of practice during the week because of an illness, earned her second shutout of the weekend and her 11th of the campaign. She was tested throughout the game, making a total of 20 saves. She stopped several tough shots, including two breakaway opportunities that appeared to be sure goals for Duluth. Johnson praised her effort after the game.

“She was really sharp again tonight. I thought both games she competed and played very well,” Johnson said. “She came out in both games and really earned both shutouts.”

Turnbull found the back of the net for the third time on the power play in the third period after receiving a pass from Burke, who tallied a career-high four assists. Freshman Emily Clark then added an exclamation point after Pankowski threw a puck toward the net, where Clark tapped it in for the Badger’s fifth goal.

The show was stolen by Turnbull though, who had the game of a lifetime on Senior Night, lifting the Badgers to a huge win over a Top 10 opponent.

“For her to go out that way and get a hat trick on a special night, being our captain, you’re very happy for those situations when they happen,” Johnson said.

Wisconsin will head to Columbus to take on Ohio State in the last regular season road trip, next weekend. The games will be at 5 p.m. Friday the 13th and 3 p.m. Saturday the 14th.

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