The Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team (3-0-0 WCHA, 10-0-0 overall) took down the Bemidji State Beavers (2-2-0 WCHA, 3-4-1 overall) by a score of 4-1 on Sunday afternoon, completing a weekend sweep.
Unlike Saturday’s slow start, the Badgers came out of the gates playing aggressive. Less than five minutes into the game, senior forward Abby Roque swatted a rebound of junior forward Daryl Watts’ shot into the back of the net to give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead.
But, Bemidji State did not go away quietly. Their scrappy play challenged the Badgers offense, and the Beavers managed five shots on goal in the first frame. It was Watts, however, that netted the next goal on a wrister 17 minutes into the period, her second of the game.
By the end of the first period, Wisconsin had 14 shots on goal compared to only eight last night. Bemidji State had five.
“We took care of the puck better than we did most of the game yesterday,” said head coach Mark Johnson. “We were able to establish some things, a couple goals in the first period, and at the start of the second, we were really good.”
Wisconsin kept the same intensity going during the second period, coming out the the gates hot with a redirected goal by sophomore forward Sophie Shirley off of a slapshot by sophomore defender Nicole Lamantia to put the Badgers up 3-0.
Wisconsin was assessed three minor penalties in the second period but managed to kill all of Bemidji State’s power plays.
“We got ourselves in some penalty trouble, so we have to be disciplined and stay off the penalty sheet,” said Johnson. “Your lines and your rhythm and your flow gets taken away from you, and that’s what I don’t like about it, when you’re relying on probably five, six, seven kids to kill penalties.”
The ferocity out of breaks continued in the third period with a no-angle goal by junior forward Caitlin Schneider three and a half minutes into the frame, putting the Badgers up 4-0.
As the period continued, the Beavers defense became scrappier and checks were thrown harder, much to the chagrin of the LaBahn arena crowd. The referees, however, let each team play with a type of physicality typical to the WCHA.
Later in the third period, the officials called more penalties against each team in an effort to regain control of the game. This led to a 5-on-3 chance for Wisconsin with about five minutes left; however, they failed to convert on that or any other power play this series.
“It’s nice to get a little bit of a push from Bemidji to be able to go into the Gophers’ weekend at full speed,” said Shirley.
Paige Beebe scored an unassisted goal for Bemidji State late in the third period, but it was too little too late, and the Badgers won by a final of 4-1.
The Badgers look to stay undefeated next week in Minneapolis in a series against the second-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers. They will take on the Gophers Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m..