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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Badgers pick up right where they left off in season-opening sweep

The Wisconsin women’s hockey team (2-0) looked like they hadn’t lost a step this past weekend, sweeping Lindenwood (0-2) to open up their 2021 title defense. 

It was a whole team effort for the No. 1 ranked Badgers, who saw 16 players score points — including 10 multi-point performers — during their 8-1 and 10-0 wins over the Lady Lions.

Casey O’Brien got things started for the Badgers on Friday, and led the way for them after. After taking a little bit to shake off the rust, Wisconsin finally got on the board late in the first period, thanks to the sophomore forward. O’Brien skated down the left side of the ice and tapped in a perfectly placed Makenna Webster pass to get the Badgers on the board going into the second period.

Wisconsin let the floodgates open in the second period. Senior captain Brette Pettet got the scoring started early for the Badgers, shooting the puck past the Lindenwood goaltender just 25 seconds into the second period of play.

Next up in the scoring column was the reigning WCHA Player of the Year, Daryl Watts. Last year’s Patty Kazmaier Award finalist gathered the puck at center ice, skated around a Lindenwood defenseman and sniped a shot over the Lindenwood netminder to complete the solo run with a goal. Maddi Wheeler would finish the scoring for the period, netting two goals of her own to give Wisconsin a 5-0 lead going into the final 20 minutes.

The Lady Lions would get one past Wisconsin’s backup goaltender Jane Gervais who went in the net for the final period, but three more goals from Katie Kotlowski, Webster and O’Brien gave Wisconsin an 8-1 win to start their season.

Game two was even better for the Badgers and O’Brien.

Just one day after posting the first multi-goal game of her career, O’Brien wasted no time to get her second, scoring two goals in the first period to give Wisconsin a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

The break didn’t mess up O’Brien’s rhythm at all, as the forward came out in the second period and secured her first career hat-trick just 40 seconds into the period. The three goals in a row for O’Brien made her the first Badger in a decade to record a natural hat-trick.

Wisconsin was far from done, though, in the second period. The scoring fest added a goal from Pettet, two from Kotlowski and two shorthanded goals from Sophie Shirley and Maddie Posick.

If you thought you wouldn’t hear from Casey O’Brien the rest of the game, you were wrong.

O’Brien netted her fourth goal of the game early in the third period, becoming only the sixth Badger to score four or more goals in one game, and the first to do so since Sarah Nurse in 2016.

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Webster would wrap up the scoring for the team late in the game, bringing the total to a round 10-0, making it the third straight season the Badgers have scored double-digits in at least one game.

The top-ranked Badgers will look to continue their dominance this weekend when they travel to North Andover, Massachusetts, to take on the Merrimack Warriors. Both Friday and Saturday’s games will start at 1 pm and can be seen online on College Sports Live.

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