No. 1 Wisconsin (10-0-0 WCHA 14-0-0 overall) upended the Lindenwood Lions (1-3-2 CHA, 3-9-2 overall) in Madison by taking away a pair of physical victories this past Friday and Sunday. The Badgers resumed their record-breaking start to the season and continued to impress, both offensively and defensively.
The Badgers took the ice Friday at 2 p.m. in the first of the two-game series, and despite the disliked afternoon start time and lower attendance, Wisconsin mustered enough energy to put the Lions away 5-1.
The Badgers got going early when freshman wing Sophia Shaver lit the lamp just over a minute into the game on an assist from junior wing Sarah Nurse and junior defender and assistant team captain Jenny Ryan.
In the second period, the UW offense absolutely went off, scoring two goals in less than a minute and another just before the period ended, leaving the Lions stunned and down 4-1 headed into the final frame. The Badgers would add one more via senior wing Rachel Jones 14:06 into the third, putting the exclamation point on an impressive 5-1 victory.
Sunday proved to be an equally notable performance for the Badgers, as they kept the net clean and took away a 4-0 win at LaBahn Arena. Sophomore center Emily Clark struck first for UW 6:28 into the first period off of her own rebound and an assist from sophomore wing Annie Pankowski and Ryan. Clark and Pankowski continued to demonstrate the unique chemistry they have shown all season. Sunday was also shown to be a good day for Nurse, as she found the back of the net twice while Shaver added her second goal of the weekend.
“Obviously, yeah, the chemistry is definitely there with me, Annie, and Baylee (Wellhausen)” Clark said regarding her special relationship with the front line. “I think we have all lot of success when we are moving our feet and we create more success for each other when were moving it, so I think that encourages us to share the puck and we get rewarded for it.”
Wisconsin has now outscored its opponents 71-5, only allowing goals in three matchups and averaging five goals a game. Simply put, the defense has been smothering and the offense has been rolling. Ryan came into the weekend as the country’s lead scoring defender, averaging 1.33 points per matchup along with UW team captain and senior defender Courtney Burke, who ranks second, averaging 1.17 points per game. Burke and Ryan improved on those averages by scoring three points each this past weekend.
Ryan said her success this season is the fruit of a lot of hard work this summer.
“For me personally I’m just working on putting the small things together in my game, getting shots through, playing a solid D zone.” Ryan said. “It helps that every time I get it to the forwards they are putting it in the net. Makes everyone look good. I feel confident giving the puck to anyone on our team.”
With the stellar showing this weekend, the Badgers should maintain their No. 1 national ranking in both the USCHO.com and the USA Today poll.
Wisconsin will continue its homestand next weekend against Dartmouth, followed by a showdown with rival Minnesota the following weekend.