This past weekend, Wisconsin traveled to Mankato, Minnesota to play against the Minnesota State Mavericks in an exciting two-game sweep. The games marked goaltender Cami Kronish’s ninth win and Wisconsin’s halfway mark for the season.
Friday night, the Badgers came out blazing, winning the face-off and scoring 23 seconds into the first period.
“That oughta be the fastest goal I’ve seen in hockey, I think in my life,” one of the announcers said.
The goal was scored off an error by MSU goalie Lauren Barbro, who thought she had more time to get back between the posts after stopping the puck behind the net. She, however, did not — and Jesse Compher seized the opportunity, making it 1-0 Wisconsin.
With just over six minutes left in the period, the Mavericks tied it up at 1-1, and the first period ended.
The second period started with a battle for the puck during the face-off. The teams remained at center ice for multiple seconds before the Mavericks were able to secure the puck. However, they didn’t keep possession for long.
Maddi Wheeler put the Badgers back in the lead two minutes into the period. Wheeler was assisted by Lacey Eden and Casey O’Brien, who made an impressive passing play to score the goal. The Badgers then went on a power play, but nothing came of it.
Then, with just over three minutes left in the period, Harvey extended the lead to 3-1. Edwards passed the puck over to Harvey who found the top left corner of the net to extend Wisconsin’s lead. Period two ended with the Badgers still up two.
With the final period underway, the Mavericks secured the face-off and this time capitalized, scoring a goal and cutting Wisconsin’s lead back to one.
Kirsten Simms refused to let the goal go unanswered, as she scored a minute later. Edwards sent the puck sailing towards the net. Simms effortlessly made the deflected goal, putting the Badgers back up by two, 4-2. Lacey Eden added another cushion for Wisconsin, maintaining the lead and putting the Badgers up 5-2.
The final for the game was 5-2 Badgers. The Badgers hoped Friday’s momentum would carry over into Saturday, as Head Coach Mark Johnson said on Friday, “Do the same as today. Capitalize on our opportunities and defend strongly.”
On Saturday, the Badgers came out looking confident and comfortable, easily winning the face-off. Britta Curl started off the scoring after taking advantage of a delayed penalty for too many skaters on the ice for MSU. Harvey shot the puck and Curl impressively deflected it over the goal, making it 1-0 Badgers.
The Badgers went on a penalty kill with six minutes left, and the Mavericks were able to capitalize, tying the game at 1-1. Curl made sure Wisconsin didn’t go into the second period with a tie by making her second goal of the night. The captain managed to shoot the puck into an MSU defender, rebound her own shot and score, making it 2-1 Badgers at the end of the first.
The Badgers won the second period face-off as well, and O’Brien extended their lead three minutes in. Assisted by Natalie Buchbinder and Eden, O’Brien shot through a heavily crowded zone and soared the puck into the top left corner.
With four minutes left in the period, Edwards scored, making it 4-1 Badgers. She made an incredible play, stealing the puck and shooting a pass from Simms to score the goal and end the period.
With the third period underway, Wisconsin’s Sophie Shirley finished up the scoring after the Mavericks failed to clear the puck on a penalty kill. Shirley took advantage of the wide open net and made the final goal of the night, putting the score at 5-1 Badgers.
This marked Wisconsin’s sixth sweep of the season so far. The Badgers continue their dominating streak heading into their winter break. When they return for the second half of the season, they will travel to Hamden, Connecticut to take on Quinnipiac on Dec. 31.