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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Wisconsin women’s hockey defeats Minnesota 2-1 on Jan. 21, 2023 in the LaBahn Arena at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Badgers reach career milestones, extend win streak to four

Multiple Badger skaters reached new career milestones over the weekend as Wisconsin swept St. Thomas with ease.

This past weekend, the Badgers (20-7-1, 16-5-1 Big Ten) played against St. Thomas (7-20-1, 2-19-1) with the hopes of continuing their newly-sparked win streak. Not only was Wisconsin able to win both games, but a few Badgers achieved career milestones as well. 

Friday’s game started out with aggressive play on both sides. St. Thomas was able to score about five minutes in — defenseman Maddy Clough made an impressive wrist shot toward the right side of the goal after maneuvering around Wisconsin defenseman Katie Kotlowski.

The game continued on at 1-0 Tommies, and then with less than five minutes left in the period, Casey O’Brien kicked off the scoring for Wisconsin. O’Brien, assisted by Vivian Jungels and Maddi Wheeler, made an impressive goal from the left face-off circle through two Tommies defenders and straight past the goalie’s skate, putting the score at 1-1. The period ended tied, setting the fans up for an exciting second period. 

Wisconsin maintained their aggression, killing a penalty 45 seconds into the start of the period. After successfully shutting down the penalty, Wisconsin got a power play chance of their own three minutes later. 

Jesse Compher made sure to put the opportunity to use and extended the Badger-lead. Assisted by O’Brien and Nicole LaMantia, Compher made a difficult shot off the right side by waiting and then flipping the puck up and over the goalie, making it 2-1 Wisconsin.

With that goal, Compher reached a career milestone of 150 points, while LaMantia reached 100 points. With less than five minutes left in the period, the Badgers used their timeout to reset.

Back out on the ice, Laila Edwards extended the lead. Battling her way into scoring range, Edwards overpowered a Tommies defender and fired the puck in for a goal with three minutes left in the period. A minute later, Wheeler added on to the score off a breakaway — she danced around Tommies defender Emma Larson, made a move around the goalie and scored — making it 4-1 Badgers. 

O’Brien decided to join in on the scoring run with less than 30 seconds left in the period. After receiving a centering pass from Sophie Shirley, O’Brien made it look easy as she shot the puck with patience and accuracy to score the team’s fifth goal. 

With this goal, O’Brien also joined the club on career milestones, earning her 100th point. The period ended with Wisconsin up 5-1.

Kirsten Simms scored just three minutes into the first period, making it 6-1 Wisconsin. After a scuffle behind the net, Lacey Eden managed to push the puck to Kirsten Simms who, patiently waiting for it, blasted the puck in. 

There wasn’t much excitement otherwise, until five minutes left in the game, when St. Thomas scored on a power play. However, the goal was waved off due to a high sticking penalty against Tommies defenseman Nicole Vallario.

The score remained 6-1 Badgers with Wisconsin outshooting St. Thomas, 56-15. Friday marked the third straight win for Wisconsin, and the team hoped to continue their streak the next day.

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Saturday’s scoring started quickly for the Badgers, as Maddi Wheeler made a goal 30 seconds into the game. Receiving the puck off a wall rebound, Sophie Shirley centered a pass for Wheeler, who rocketed the puck past the Tommies’ goalie to put the score at 1-0 Wisconsin.

Wisconsin then went on a power play twice, but was unable to capitalize on either. The first period ended with the score at 1-0 Badgers.

With the second period underway, Simms scored in exactly two minutes. Swerving through the Tommies’ defenders, Simms made an impressive goal assisted by Eden. It wasn’t just Wisconsin’s offense that shined Saturday — Jane Gervais was at goalie and made a difficult save look easy with a nice baseball catch to stop a St. Thomas goal attempt by Forward Kate Haug a minute later. 

With the game at 2-0 Badgers, O’Brien extended the lead with just over seven minutes left in the period. Receiving a behind-the-net pass from Eden, O’Brien blasted the puck into the net, making it 3-0 Wisconsin at period end. 

There was not much excitement in the third period other than Wisconsin killing off two penalties and keeping the score at 3-0. Gervais earned her second shutout of the year and Wisconsin extended their winning streak to four. 

“Any shutout usually feels pretty good … These kinds of games you don’t usually get as many shots, but that means the team is playing really well, so it feels good all around,” said Gervais after Saturday’s win. 

Next Friday at 7 p.m., the Badgers take on St. Cloud State in UW’s seventh straight Fill the Bowl game at the Kohl Center.

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