Women's hockey

Clark returns to scoring form with hat trick as Badgers take down Syracuse 9-1

Senior forward Emily Clark broke her scoring drought after returning from a right leg injury with three goals against Syracuse on Sunday.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger and Cameron Lane-Flehinger

For the first time since returning from a right leg injury, redshirt senior forward Emily Clark scored.

Three times.

"As I was coming into the rink today, I had Emily on the scoresheet scoring a goal,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “She went a little beyond that. You need your good players to be confident, and I think after today, her confidence is going to go up."

Clark's hat-trick lead the Badgers (7-1-0 WCHA, 17-1-0 overall) to a dominating 9-1 win over Syracuse (4-3-0 CHA, 4-12-1) to cap off Wisconsin's most complete series of the season.

All of Clark's goals were directly assisted by her line-mates, redshirt senior Annie Pankowski and senior Sam Cogan.

“It's an amazing feeling when you can contribute like that,” Clark said. “Being a senior, getting that at home — there's something about LaBahn, especially hearing that horn blare is amazing, and our team played amazing with all of our lines rolling and so many people contributing. I am so proud of our team.”

After Clark scored the first time, her teammates rallied around her, slapping her back with big smiles on their faces.

“We are all excited for her,” Pankowski said. “We had a goal coming into the game to get that monkey off Em's back, and I think we accomplished that. I'm just really excited she found the back of the net three times tonight.”

After Clark’s first goal, the Badgers caught fire with the third line slamming the puck in the back of the net: an assist by junior forward Presley Norby to senior forward Sophie Shaver with eight minutes left in the first period.

"That confidence is contagious, and it builds off each other," Clark said.

Up 3-0, Johnson subbed in sophomore goaltender Breanna Blesi for redshirt junior goaltender Kristen Campbell in the second period. Blesi, having only played one game before against Lindenwood this season, had four saves under her belt. But, with the puck rolling over her glove and getting bumped, she couldn’t stop the quick shot by Syracuse forward Abby Moloughney.

"It was a close game at the time,” Pankowski said. “She felt like she let us down a little bit, and she's never really been in a position like that. As a teammate, it's my job to make sure she feels like we've got her back and that she can play her game because we have her back. She did great."

Blesi went on to regain her confidence and ended up capturing six saves by the end of the game. Fired up after the lone goal and determined to gain the momentum back, junior forward Alexis Mauermann and freshman forward Britta Curl scored back-to-back, bringing the score up to 5-1 to finish the second period.

“I think we really came out as a united front, and I think that's what makes us great,” Pankowski said. “I think it was a solid, all-around effort.”

With the clock ticking again to start the third period, Clark slipped it past Welch again on a five-on-three power play against the Orange.

The very next power play, sophomore forward Caitlin Schneider passed the puck to classmate Brette Pettet to score again, breaking the Badger’s season high with seven goals against Syracuse’s one.

And again, the Badgers score twice with an assist from junior forward Abby Roque to Schneider, followed by Pankowski with a shorthanded goal.

“It was a shorthanded goal, so I knew I only had one to beat on because I was the last man back,” Pankowksi said. “I didn't feel anybody on my back, and I could feel that I had enough time to make a move.”

Pankowski's goal put her in a four-way tie for the school record for shorthanded strikes.

The Badgers will play at St. Cloud State next weekend to resume conference play and start their three-game away series.

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