The No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (21-8-1, 17-6-1 WCHA) took on the No. 14 St. Cloud State Huskies (16-15, 9-15), for the seventh ever “Fill the Bowl” game at the Kohl Center Friday.
The series brought the best out of both teams, ending with each side claiming a victory. After dropping the first game Friday, the Badgers were able to come back and win the second.
Friday started with the Huskies winning the face-off. Each team maintained aggressive play throughout the majority of the period, yet Wisconsin led shots 6-1 near the halfway mark.
The first potential scoring opportunity for the Badgers came with a penalty call against Huskies player Dayle Ross, who was called for tripping. However, the Huskies were able to fend off the penalty.
With 5:30 left in the period, the Badgers scored, but SCSU challenged the goal. Successful, the score remained 0-0 due to an offsides call. The unluckiness didn’t stop there for Wisconsin, as they were soon called for too many players on the ice. Shortly after, the Badgers were unable to ward off the penalty and let the Huskies score.
Forward Jenniina Nylund earned the goal for the Huskies, assisted by Ross and Taytum Geier. Nylund, effectively using an unintentional Badger screen, made an impressive shot directly past Cami Kronish to end the period at 1-0 Huskies.
With the second underway, Wisconsin still led in shots on goal, but were having no luck getting anything past goalie JoJo Chobak. Regardless, the second period wasn’t too eventful, until the end. The Badgers had two big scoring opportunities but were unable to capitalize on either.
The first opportunity came when SCSU was called for too many players on the ice with just under six minutes left, before being called for a hooking penalty. The Badgers put in effort to score, but to no avail. The period ended with Wisconsin still down by one.
In the third period, St. Cloud State continued their stoppage of Badger shots. Chobak deserves a shoutout as she tallied an outstanding 39 saves. The Huskies took the 1-0 win on Friday, marking their first win against Wisconsin in eight years.
While the result was disappointing for the Badgers, fan support was no question. The “Fill the Bowl” night garnered a turnout of 14,430, the second-highest NCAA women's hockey attendance mark at a single game ever, per the university.
Saturday’s game started out pretty similar to Friday’s — SCSU won the face-off, then scored six minutes in. The goal was scored by forward Courtney Hall, who was able to slide the puck in for a goal as it came loose while a Badger and a Huskies player fought for it.
The similar start could have foreshadowed a similar game, however, Wisconsin responded quickly. Five minutes later, Jesse Compher tied the game at one. Assisted by Caroline Harvey and Vivian Jungels, Compher shot the puck through heavy traffic and finished it off by sending it through the legs of SCSU’s goalie.
Harvey put the Badgers in the lead a little over a minute later. Assisted by Laila Edwards and Compher, Harvey rifled one past the goalie using impressive strength to score the much-needed goal. The score remained 2-1 Wisconsin at the end of the first.
The second period started off in the same fashion for the Badgers, as Edwards extended the lead to 3-1 four minutes into the period. Edwards received a behind the net pass from her sister, Chayla, and made a quick shot past the goalie’s right side.
Jane Gervais made two unbelievable saves with less than nine minutes to go in the period. The first save was shot by Nylund, who was wide open. The attempt had Gervais diving to the opposite side of the goal to stop the puck from scoring.
The second save was off a shot attempt by Avery Myers. Myers centered herself and was waiting for the pass, she received it and fired a shot, causing Gervais to dive back to stop the puck. The combination saves were incredible and encompassed the speed and agility it takes to be a goalie. The period ended with the score still at 3-1 Wisconsin.
In the beginning of the third period, each team exchanged a penalty, however, nothing came of either. Then, with just over five minutes left, SCSU scored, making it 3-2. The goal came from Taylor Lind off a breakaway. Lind seized the puck after Gervais lost control of it far out from the goalie crease and scored the shorthanded goal. There was plenty of time to tie the game, but Wisconsin was able to defend the lead. The game ended 3-2 Wisconsin.
While Wisconsin would have preferred a series sweep, the tie showed determination, as players recognized adjustments that needed to be made after Friday’s loss.
“I thought we came out and started at a pretty good pace, and unfortunately got behind one,” said coach Mark Johnson in a statement following Saturday’s game. “We came back, and Jesse Compher made an adjustment and played really well.”
Next week, the Badgers will take their final road trip of the regular season, to face the Minnesota Gophers at 6:00 p.m. on Friday.