It wasn’t the overwhelming victory of the first game of the series, but the Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team (8-2-0) still managed to secure the road sweep with a 4-2 win over St. Cloud State (3-9-1) on Saturday.
After shutting out the Huskies 10-0 in the opening game, the Badgers saw themselves behind the eight ball early in the first period when St. Cloud State’s Jenniina Nylund intercepted an errant pass from Sophie Shirley, rebounded her shot, and lifted the puck over Wisconsin’s Kennedy Blair’s stick on the Huskies’ second shot of the game. The SCSU lead was the first they’ve had over the Badgers in nearly two years.
Wisconsin had an opportunity to tie the game during a power play following a tripping penalty on St. Cloud State’s Hannah Bates, but the Husky penalty kill stood stoutly to keep the narrow lead.
Just as it looked for sure that the Badgers would go into the first intermission facing a deficit, junior forward Sophie Shirley weaved her way through the Husky defense and lifted a backhanded shot passed senior goaltender Emma Polusny with only 35 seconds left in the opening period to tie up the game 1-1.
A Delaney Drake body-checking penalty with one second left in the first period meant the Badgers would have to open the middle period on the penalty kill.
After successfully killing off that penalty, the Badgers seemed to be seizing momentum, leading the shot battle 23-12 through the first eight minutes of the second period. That was until Wisconsin’s Nicole LaMantia was called for a major penalty, putting the Badgers back on the PK for the next five minutes.
Wisconsin held on for four minutes during the extended four-on-five penalty kill, but a wrist shot from St. Cloud State’s McKenna Wesloh beat Blair’s glove, giving the Huskies a lead once again, this time 2-1.
Once again, the Badgers saw themselves down one score, and once again, Shirley answered the call. The junior forward turned a neutral-ice interception by captain Brette Pettet into a two-on-two break, beat her defender, and put the puck in the net to knot the score up at 2-2.
Wisconsin saw a golden chance to take their first lead of the game after Olivia Cvar was sent to the sin bin for a body checking penalty. Unfortunately for the Badgers, they failed to record a shot over the two minutes and went into the final nine minutes of play still tied 2-2.
The game looked destined for overtime, but Lacey Eden had different ideas. The freshman scored her third goal in her fourth appearance with 1:17 left in the game to put the Badgers up for the first time all game.
An empty-net goal from Daryl Watts — her 100th career goal — fully shut the door on the Huskies ending the game with a score of 4-2.
Blair saved 21 shots en route to her WCHA-leading eighth win.
Wisconsin has next weekend off before a rematch bout against Minnesota in Minneapolis on Feb. 5 and 6.