This past weekend, Wisconsin traveled to Ridder Arena in Minneapolis for their final road trip of the regular season. Friday night, Wisconsin earned the extra point in a shootout, from a 2-2 tie. Saturday, the Badgers won in a high scoring duel, 7-5.
Friday’s game started out heavy on defense, making it difficult to get shots on goal. About nine minutes into the period, Katie Kotlowski finally got things started.
After receiving the puck from Lacey Eden, Kotlowski fired it from the blue line. The shot, blinded by a Badger/Gopher screen, went straight past Gophers’ goalie Skylar Vetter. Abbey Murphy responded swiftly with a goal, finding the loose puck through a scuffle and sliding it in to tie up the score.
The two teams each exchanged a penalty towards the end of the period, but nothing came of either. The first ended tied 1-1.
As teams returned for the second, Jesse Compher quickly scored, redirecting a shot from Chayla Edwards. Compher’s redirection bounced over the goalie’s right side to put Wisconsin in the lead at 2-1. With each team playing aggressive defense, allowing little action to play out, the period ended 2-1 Wisconsin.
In the third period, the Gophers tied it up with a goal from Taylor Heise. Heise skated through the Wisconsin defense with ease and shot the puck to ricochet off the back of Cami Kronish's stick and in for a goal, making it 2-2.
If there were any questions about the extent of this rivalry, all questions were answered in the final minutes of regulation time. In an intense string of events, the Badgers earned a minor and then a double minor penalty; but with both teams determined to win, the game was pushed into an eventual shootout.
After two failed attempts from both sides, Britta Curl came through in the third round of the shootout. Skating in from the left side, Curl flipped the puck over the goalie’s stick to earn the extra point for Wisconsin and end the game. Friday’s outcome only created more excitement for Badger fans on Saturday.
Saturday started out similar to Friday’s game. With over seven minutes left in the period, Gracie Osertag was called for a penalty and the Badgers went on a power play. Unfortunately, the power play did not help and the Gophers ended up scoring.
Heise gets credit for this one, hitting the puck out of the air with her glove, she sped on a breakaway and slid the puck in. The first period ended with Minnesota up by one.
With the second period underway, Catie Skaja took advantage of a Minnesota power play, scoring less than a minute into the period. Skaja received a centering pass from Murphy and had just enough time to turn and shoot, extending the Gopher lead to 2-0.
Claire Enright scored for Wisconsin, after a turnover from Skaja. Enright quickly shot the puck and scored without giving either team time to readjust. Unfortunately for Skaja, she was then called for a cross checking penalty and the Badgers scored on the power play, with a redirected shot from Laila Edwards, tying it at 2-2.
With under a minute left in the period, Simms scored, giving Wisconsin their first lead. On a breakaway, Simms tangled up defenders and skated uncontested to shoot the puck in. The second period ended 3-2 Wisconsin.
To start the third, Simms tallied her second score of the night. Simms demonstrated turbo speed and unstoppable moves, as she dropped the puck back to avoid a Minnesota defender, and fired a shot to extend the Badger lead to 4-2.
Murphy responded with a goal off a rebound after forward Ella Huber attempted a shot. The puck bounced off the goalie into a scrummage in front of the goal, and Murphy jabbed the puck in making it 4-3 Wisconsin.
With 11:16 remaining in the game, Heise tied it up at 4-4. Well-positioned at the goal, Heise redirected a shot from defenseman Crystalyn Hengler straight through the five hole.
Under five minutes to go, Caroline Harvey made a huge goal for the Badgers, giving them the lead. Harvey sent a blazing shot past Vetter after receiving a pass from Maddi Wheeler. Just over a minute later, Wheeler assisted O’Brien who scored off a 2-on-1 breakaway, putting it at 6-4 Wisconsin.
Minnesota resorted to an empty net, however Compher, unwilling to show any mercy, took advantage of the empty net, making it 7-4 Badgers. Compher received a behind-the-net pass from Curl and flipped the puck in.
Gracie Zumwinkle scored after intercepting a pass by Wisconsin, but it wasn’t enough to spark another scoring run for the Gophers. The game ended 7-5, with Wisconsin comfortably taking the win.
“It says a lot about our depth, the way we can just steamroll teams like that. I am so confident in our group,” said freshman Caroline Harvey in an athletics release after Saturday’s game.
Next week, Wisconsin hosts Ohio State at LaBahn Arena for a 3 p.m. Saturday matchup.