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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Wisconsin's quest for its fifth national title begins this weekend at LaBahn Arena against Robert Morris. 

Wisconsin's quest for its fifth national title begins this weekend at LaBahn Arena against Robert Morris. 

Badgers blow out Minnesota State to open WCHA playoffs

Five different Badgers scored goals as top-ranked Wisconsin (23-2-4 WCHA, 27-2-4 overall) routed Minnesota State (4-22-3, 7-25-4) 7-0 to open WCHA playoff play Friday night at LaBahn Arena.

“We had good energy,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “The second period, starting with the power play and capitalizing on it and then the short-handed goal, those two plays gave us some momentum to finish off the rest of the game.”

After a first period in which a combined six penalties were called, the Badgers were able to settle into a consistent flow. Wisconsin captain Sydney McKibbon started the scoring for UW, beating Maverick goalie Chloe Crosby on the power play just 36 seconds into the period, and then again with a short-handed goal just less than four minutes later.

“I think we had a good period in the first, we hit a couple of posts and I think we were outplaying them and that kinda carried into the second period,” McKibbon said. “It was nice to kinda get rewarded right away off that.”

UW wasn’t done. Junior forward Annie Pankowski rifled the puck over Crosby’s right shoulder to push the Badgers' lead to 3-0 midway through the period. Sophomore Sam Cogan wrapped up the high-scoring period for UW with a wrister past the netminder.

“When you have six penalties in the first period and they go back and forth, it just makes it difficult to get any kind of flow going,” Johnson said. “When you do have flow, five-on-five, it gives us an opportunity to do what we do well. Most of the second period we had a pretty good rhythm going.”

The Badgers rode their scoring momentum into the third period, as senior Sarah Nurse, freshman Abby Roque and Cogan all added goals in the period.

Senior goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens registered her NCAA-leading 14th shutout of the season, recording 15 saves.

The Badgers will try to eliminate the Mavericks in the best-of-three series Saturday afternoon.

“It’s going to be a tough game for them tomorrow, it could potentially end their season,” McKibbon said. “They’re going to give their best effort, they’re going to give all they have, so we definitely need to play well for 60 minutes.”

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