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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Badgers split women’s hockey Border Battle in Twin Cities

The top-five battle ended even after the Badgers bounced back for a convincing series-tying win.

The No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers (14-4-0) and No. 2 Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-3-1) each notched a win at the two-game border battle series this past Friday and Saturday. Despite losing their first game, Badgers forwards Lacey Eden and Kristen Simms led the team to a dominant 5-1 win on Saturday. 

The historic border battle is back, and this is the first time the Badgers have faced their rivals since beating them in a 3-2 overtime thriller to advance to the National Finals last year. Despite dominating the series in recent years, Wisconsin trails in their all-time record against Minnesota, 47-56-16. 

In their first face-off of the year, both games tallied high scores but had opposite results. 

Minnesota grabbed the win on Friday, outscoring Wisconsin 5-3. The game started with a lot of action at the net, with the Golden Gophers scoring first. The Badgers answered 47 seconds later when, down 1-0, senior forward Maddie Wheeler struck the puck into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1. 

Wheeler’s goal gave the team momentum to keep attacking the net, and just minutes later, they took the 2-1 lead when Simms scored. However, Minnesota was able to tie it up with three minutes to go in the first period. 

The Golden Gophers took the lead in the second period and didn’t look back. After back-to-back goals, Minnesota was able to extend their lead to 4-2, making it harder for Wisconsin to get within striking distance. Despite out-shooting their opponents throughout the game, the Badgers were not able to keep up with Minnesota’s offense in the third period, ending the game in a 5-3 loss. 

After losing their first game, the Badgers came out with firepower in their second game Saturday. 

Minnesota jumped out to a 1-0 lead, which propelled Wisconsin to score five unanswered goals to tie the series 1-1. Eden got the scoring started when she stripped the puck from the Golden Gopher offense, and scored on a 1 v 1 transition play. 

Later in the second period, freshman forward Kelly Gorbatenko scored to give the Badgers a 2-1 lead. There was no stopping the Wisconsin offense, which wanted to reclaim their stake of the border rivalry. The team scored three goals in the third period, with Eden, Simms and graduate forward Britta Curl each making it to the scoresheet to lead the team to their 14th win of the season. 

Simms was also named Western Collegiate Hockey Association forward of the week after her successful four-goal weekend at Minnesota. 

Wisconsin’s dominant second game proved that they are still a force to be reckoned with. Despite their past losses, this win will give them momentum as they end their year on a high note. The Badgers will return home on Jan. 4 to play Merrimack in a two game series at LaBahn Arena. 

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