On Friday and Saturday, the No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers took on Bemidji State for the second time this season.
The Badgers dominated on Friday night in the first game, scoring a total of 13 goals and nearly breaking the school record for goals in a game (14). Captain Britta Curl earned her first collegiate hat trick and first hat trick for Wisconsin this season.
The Badgers traveled to Bemidji for the first game of the series on Friday. The scoring began early when Maddi Wheeler made an impressive shot despite being heavily guarded by a Bemidji State player. Two minutes later, Wheeler assisted Casey O’Brien with a centering pass she shot straight past the goalie’s shoulder.
Nicole LaMantia tacked on the next goal — rifling a shot at the goalie’s glove before falling into the net, making it 3-0 Wisconsin. Lacey Eden scored the fourth goal to end the first period. Curl skated around the goal and passed it off to Eden for an easy shot.
In the second period, the Badgers scored three more goals. To start, Curl scored the fifth goal of the night on a breakaway with Sophie Shirley. With about six minutes left in the period, Wisconsin was winning 5-0 and led shots on goal 27-7.
Sophie Shirley added a goal of her own with just over two minutes left on the clock. She passed the puck to Jesse Compher, who shot it unsuccessfully. The ricocheted puck was collected by Shirley who poked it in for the sixth goal of the night.
About 40 seconds later, Vivian Jungels scored the team’s seventh goal. O’Brien perfectly centered the puck, as a speeding Jungels sent it straight past the goalie. The second period ended with Wisconsin leading 7-0 and shots on goal favoring the Badgers 34-8.
Bemidji State chose to switch their goaltender in the third period, however that did not stop the Badgers, as they went on to score six more goals. Curl started off the scoring run in the third, as she avoided a Beaver defender and threaded the puck past the opposing goalie.
Next up was another goal from Sophie Shirley, who made it 9-0 Badgers. Sophie Shirley shot through three defenders with absolutely no trouble. Curl scored her third of the game shortly after, earning her first hat trick and making it 10-0 Badgers.
BSU scored in the third making it 10-1, but the Badgers responded with three more goals from Grace Shirley, Casey O’Brien and Kirsten Simms. Wisconsin absolutely dominated the first game of the series. Bemidji State could not answer, resulting in one of Wisconsin’s best performances in recent memory.
On Saturday, BSU came out slightly stronger. However, Wisconsin still managed to dominate. The first period was back and forth for both teams, as no one managed to score. However, the second period opened with some scoring from the Badgers.
A minute into the second, Jungels put one on the board for Wisconsin. Sophie Shirley shot the puck, and it bounced off the BSU goalie, who was unable to corral the miss. Jungels swooped in for the rebound and scored the first goal of the game.
The second period ended with the score remaining 1-0. The third period featured scoring from both sides, as the Beavers scored one and the Badgers tallied two. Curl scored off of a rebound from Sophie Shirley that was also assisted by Harvey. BSU answered with a power play goal, before Curl took advantage of the empty Beaver net to finalize the score at 4-1 Badgers.
This week’s games were much needed for the Badgers after their tough but impressive series against Minnesota. The Badgers’ mindset is working — taking each game as a fresh start. Curl put it in her own words in the post-game press conference, “Definitely taking each game one by one as they come, you can't just expect something based on the last time you played a team...”
“I think the biggest thing is when we have a game like that, not to get too high… tomorrow's a new day,” O’Brien added in the press conference.
Next week, the Badgers will travel to Mankato to play Minnesota State on Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3.