Badgers go into weekend red hot, face off against inexperienced Sharks

Wisconsin came out of Thanksgiving weekend with two wins against two different opponents.

Wisconsin came out of Thanksgiving weekend with two wins against two different opponents.

Image By: Téalin Robinson and Tealin Robinson

The University of Wisconsin-Madison women’s hockey team (2-0-0 WCHA, 4-0-0 overall) maintained their No. 1 overall ranking after two wins against top-ten Ohio State last weekend. Now, their sights are set on the Long Island University Sharks (0-2-0 overall) this weekend. This is the first ever matchup between Wisconsin and LIU, as this is the Sharks’ inaugural women’s hockey season. 

Last weekend Wisconsin accomplished a clean sweep of the Buckeyes in Columbus, a feat they couldn’t pull off against their Big Ten and WCHA rival a year ago. A Friday night shutout by redshirt senior goaltender Kristen Campbell and seven points by junior forward Daryl Watts helped secure the two wins and an undefeated record to start WCHA conference play for the Badgers. Senior defenseman and captain Mekenzie Steffen added a hat trick on Saturday to round out the Badgers weekend.

The performances of Campbell, Watts, and Steffen were enough to earn weekly honors from the WCHA: Forward of the Week for Watts, Defenseman of the Week for Steffen, and Goaltender of the Week for Campbell.

The Sharks’ inaugural season has started nearly opposite of Wisconsin’s; a 10-3 exhibition loss to the National Women’s Hockey League’s Metropolitan Riveters kicked off the season, and a pair of ugly losses to the University of Connecticut followed by scores of 4-0 and 6-1. The lone goal of their regular season was scored by freshman forward Carrigan Umpherville. 

LIU’s early struggles are not indicative of their potential, however. The team is made up almost entirely of freshmen, with just two exceptions. The Sharks’ recruiting reach has already proven to be extensive; their roster boasts international players from Denmark and Hong Kong. 

Freshman goaltender Ava Bailey and freshman forward Molly Myers both hail from Wisconsin.

But, what LIU lacks in experience on the ice is made up for at the head coach position. 

Rob Morgan has 16 years of coaching experience in collegiate and professional women’s hockey. Most recently Morgan was developing the sport in China with the Vanke Rays, where he was an associate head coach for the Chinese National Team. 

Prior to his work across the globe, Morgan was an associate head coach at Yale and spent six years in De Pere, Wisconsin, as head coach of St. Norbert’s women’s hockey team.

This series against the Sharks will be the one of the Badgers’ final non-conference series. After their trip to Long Island, the Badgers will be playing WCHA opponents in all their games except the Country Classic in Nashville, Tennessee and the Battle at the Burgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they will play a slew of northeastern powerhouses like Harvard, Boston College, and Robert Morris. 

Friday’s game will be played at IceWorks in Syosset, New York at 2 p.m. Central time. Saturday’s match is at Nassau Coliseum, part-time home of the NHL’s New York Islanders at 4:30 p.m.

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