MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin women's hockey team (11-2-1) wrapped up their home season with a 7-0 shutout over Bemidji State (2-12-2) in a penalty-ridden affair Saturday afternoon at Labahn Arena.
It didn't take long for the sin bin to open up as Wisconsin's Britta Curl and Bemidji State's Mak Lengei were called for dual roughing penalties just 33 seconds into the game after a post-whistle skirmish.
After getting back to five-on-five hockey two minutes later, the Badgers wasted no time getting on the board. Defenseman Natalie Buchbinder picked up a loose puck in the Badgers' own end and rifled an outlet pass to a cherry-picking Daryl Watts on the opposing blue line. Freshman forward Makenna Webster joined Watts, and the two of them executed a perfect two-on-zero fastbreak resulting in a Webster goal to put the Badgers up 1-0.
The rest of the first period was filled with more Bemidji State penalties. Clair DeGeorge was called for a tripping penalty, Abby Ecker a holding penalty and then the Beavers were caught with too many players on the ice. Bemidji State's power kill stood stout, though, preventing any goals and keeping the score at 1-0 Wisconsin heading into the second period.
The second period, much like the first, got underway with another early penalty. Bemidji State's Reese Hunt was called for hooking, sending out the Beaver penalty kill for the fourth time in the evening.
Not long after Bemidji killed off that penalty, they were called for another one, this time an interference call on Kate Boland after she took out Wisconsin's Sophie Shirley to prevent the junior forward from getting a breakaway opportunity.
The Badgers wouldn't score on that powerplay, but Shirley would double the Wisconsin lead shortly after, going bar-down to give the Badgers a two goal lead.
Wisconsin would send out their first penalty kill midway through the second period after Britta Curl was called for an after-the-whistle roughing penalty when she checked Bemidji State's DeGeorge for sending ice into Wisconsin goaltender Kennedy Blair's face.
The Badger penalty kill was saved from having to kill off all two minutes, however, when the Beavers’ Lydia Passolt was sent to the box for slashing less than a minute later.
The penalty boxes would get pretty crowded later when a Paige Beebe trip and a Grace Bowlby delay of game meant the two teams would play three-on-three hockey.
Freshman phenom Lacey Eden made sure to take advantage of the open ice, scoring her fifth goal of the season after skating around three defenders. The Badgers took that 3-0 lead into the final period of play but not before Bemidji State's Taylor Nelson was called for a hooking penalty with a minute left into the period, the Beavers eighth penalty of the day.
The third period belonged to the Shirley sisters. Younger sister Grace Shirley started off the period's scoring, sliding the puck between Bemidji State netminder Kerigan Dowhy's legs for her first goal of the season. Later in the period, big sis Sophie Shirley followed her younger sister's footsteps, sneaking one between the Beaver goaltender's legs for her second goal of the game. Grace joined her sister on the two-goal club a minute later, redirecting a Buchbinder shot to give the Badgers a 6-0 lead.
After the game, Sophie Shirley spoke on how special it is to be able to play at such a high level with Grace.
"Being able to play with your sister on this team is cool, to both be able to get a couple tonight was obviously a pretty cool feeling and pretty special too,” Shirley said postgame. “I think it will be a game that we both remember for a long time."
Wisconsin's Delaney Drake rounded out the day's scoring, picking up a loose puck, spinning around and firing a shot into the goal.
The Badgers' Kennedy Blair didn't see a whole lot in goal on the afternoon. Wisconsin scored more goals (7) than the Beavers had shots on goal (6). The six saves are the lowest for Blair all season, beating the mark of 12 set in the previous game.
The Badgers close out the regular season next weekend on the road against Minnesota-Duluth.