Madison, WI — Wisconsin goaltender Kennedy Blair only faced 12 shots all game, but the senior did her job, saving them all.
The 12 shots were the least Blair has seen in a game all year, and there were moments when she wouldn't see a shot for long stretches at a time. Blair said after the game that it's hard for her during those dry spells, but she finds ways to get through it.
"For me, I think I just have to have fun with it," Blair said. "Sometimes I talk to myself, sometimes I sing. You have to be all in it and have fun as well. Cheering on my teammates when they're doing their jobs helps me stay focused too."
Hyper focussed were the No. 1 Wisconsin women’s hockey team (10-2-1) Friday afternoon, as they avenged their upset loss to Bemidji State (2-11-2) last year with a 4-0 win over the Beavers at LaBahn Arena behind four different goal scorers.
The Badgers nearly trailed early in the game, but a stretch save from Blair kept the game scoreless.
From there, the Badgers seemed to settle into the game, outshooting the Beavers 6-0 over the next 10 minutes. Those shots came to fruition just after the halfway point of the period, as junior Sophie Shirley found fellow linemate Brette Pettet in front of the goal behind the defense. While falling down, Pettet lifted the puck over Bemidji State goaltender Kerigan Dowhy to give the Badgers the first lead of the game.
Wisconsin looked to be ready to set themselves off on a surefire blowout until two penalties against the Badgers sent them onto a five-on-three penalty kill.
Just a minute after defenseman Chayla Edwards was called for a tripping penalty, the Badgers were caught with too many players on the ice, meaning they'd have to kill off a two-man penalty for the first time all season.
Luckily for Wisconsin, if they’re going to have to kill off a five-on-three powerplay, Bemidji State is the team they’d want to do it against. The Beavers are the only team in the country that has yet to score on the powerplay and rank just 24th in the nation in scoring as a whole, averaging only 1.4 goals per game.
After killing off both penalties, the Badgers once again took control of the game. Three minutes after getting back into full-strength play, junior Britta Curl took a centering pass from Delaney Drake and shot the puck off Dowhy's blocker and into the goal to double the Badger lead, 2-0, heading into the second period.
Wisconsin came out firing to start the second 20 minutes of play. In just the first five minutes of the second period, the Badgers nearly doubled their shots on goal, outshooting Bemidji State 7-0. They didn't get a goal from it, but with the amount of time spent in Wisconsin's offensive zone, the Beavers didn't have a real opportunity to score, recording just one shot in the period and none during their third power play of the night.
The third period saw the Badgers get back to their scoring ways quickly. Just under two minutes into the final period, freshman Badger Makenna Webster found herself unguarded right in front of the net and didn't miss her opportunity.
Shortly thereafter, Bemidji State did something you can't do against this Wisconsin team: give them a power play. The Badgers — who lead the WCHA in power play percentage — took advantage of the chance, and it was none other than Lacey Eden to score the game's fourth and final goal. For Eden, seeing her on the scoresheet is starting to become expected. This goal marks the freshman's fourth goal in just her fourth series this season.
Blair and co. will hope the fun continues on Saturday when the Badgers play their final home game of the season against Bemidji State. The game starts at 2:07 p.m. and can once again be seen live on BTN+.