The No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team opened their home campaign with back-to-back dominating wins against the Boston College Eagles. Thursday’s 5-3 victory, along with Friday’s 12-2 steamrolling, brings the Badgers record to 4-0-0 in what has been an exceptional start to the season.
Electricity filled LaBahn Arena both nights as the Badgers played up to their billing as the top team in the country.
Thursday's contest got off to a hectic start as each team scored twice in just over five minutes. The Badgers controlled possession throughout the first period, swarming the net and fighting for second and third chances. Despite looking like the better team, a power-play snipe from Boston College’s Jade Arnone left the Badgers trailing heading into the first intermission.
The Badgers were unfazed by the less than favorable intermission score as junior Sarah Wozniewicz set up redshirt sophomore Marianne Picard for the game’s equalizer. The Badgers continued to suffocate the Eagles with intense offensive zone pressure throughout the period, even after pulling even.
With chance after chance to score, it felt like only a matter of time until the Badgers took the lead. Senior captain Britta Curl did just that, capitalizing off a neutral zone turnover to give the Badgers the eventual game winning goal.
The 5-3 final score tells a story of a much more competitive game than the one that actually took place. The Badgers were relentless in the neutral zone, forcing countless turnovers which led to scoring chances. They fought hard to keep the puck in the offensive zone, leading to repeated periods of sustained pressure. It felt as if the Badgers were two steps ahead of the Eagles at all times.
After ending Thursday's game with two phenomenal periods, the Badgers looked to deliver another impressive performance the next night.
“We gained a lot of confidence from finishing [Thursday’s] game strong,” said redshirt junior Lacey Eden. “We knew what we had to do.”
As the game opened Friday, the gap between the two teams felt much more narrow than what was displayed the previous night. With that being said, Wisconsin still felt a step faster with crisp tape-to-tape passing, setting up numerous chances to score.
As time ticked away in the first period, Lacey Eden broke through with a one-timer power play goal. A minute later, freshman Cassie Hall sliced around defenders before backhanding the puck past the goalie, giving the Badgers a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The two late goals opened the floodgates for the Badgers. A three goal barrage in a less than two minutes deflated Boston College. The Eagles switched goalies and took a timeout in an attempt to salvage the spiraling game and flip momentum, but their efforts were futile. By the end of the second period, the slim Badger lead had ballooned to a 7-1 cushion.
The Badgers scored five more times in the third period. Nine Badgers scored notched goals, showcasing the team's dangerous depth.
“There was a lot to like about tonight’s game,” said Badgers head coach Mark Johnson. “We moved the puck well tonight, shared the puck well [and] created opportunities.”
Maddi Wheeler, Casey O’Brien and Kirsten Simms stood out among the Badgers on Friday. The trio accumulated two goals and seven assists, numbers that easily could’ve been higher considering the consistent quality chances the line created shift after shift.
The two wins extended the Badgers’ undefeated record and further solidified their claim as one of the best teams in the country. The Badgers will look to continue their momentum as they open conference play Thursday and Friday against Minnesota State.