The Badgers are not the only team with two returning Olympians who have turned their teams around. Surprised?
After its second loss of the season, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team heads on the road to face a revamped North Dakota squad.
Suffering their first loss at home to Minnesota-Duluth, Wisconsin has to regroup as it faces a North Dakota team that, previously not the strongest WCHA squad, welcomed sisters Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux-Kolls, who turned the Sioux into a third place team.
Knowing they are a tough team, the Badgers know they will have to keep their eyes on the Lamoureuxs.
Head coach Mark Johnson coached the Lamoureuxs last year as part of the Olympic team.
“They have great stick skills, can beat you one-on-one, and have the ability to get the puck in the net with great shots and scoring ability,” Johnson said. “Whether you’re playing defense or you’re one of the forwards on the ice, if you get in a battle with them you have to be prepared to make sure you don’t get beaten. Easier said than done. They’re very strong on their skates, they’re very strong physically.“
Johnson is not the only one with some experience with the Lamoureuxs. Sophomore forward Brianna Decker skated with the sisters in high school.
“I played with them for three years at Shattuck, so I kind of know how they play,” Decker said. “We know that they are their two main players and strength to their team. We’re just going to have to come out as a whole. I think our team as a whole should be able to handle them. They’re great players, so we’ll just have to prepare for their skills.”
Despite being fresh off a loss and about to hit the road, the Badgers are confident they will be able to turn things around.
UW feels it did not play its best last weekend, and the Badgers are hoping to make up for it.
“It’s away, so the home team will have the advantage with the line changes and stuff like that, but hopefully we’ll be able to bounce back and maybe get some revenge for last weekend,” Decker said. “We know we didn’t play our best on Sunday so hopefully we’ll be able to come back against North Dakota with that power and strength we have on our team.”
One thing the Badgers are focusing on is being more consistent. Wisconsin has had a strong season thus far, but last weekend, after a strong win on Friday, it looked very different on Sunday, scoring in the first minute only.
Sophomore defender Saige Pacholok noted UW’s need to cut down on mistakes and continue to play confidently.
“Consistency is key,” Pacholok said. “We’re not all going to have perfect games. Like Coach said, you can’t go a game without making mistakes, but we have to limit them as much as possible. Play confident, play as a team; communication is a big thing I think.”
Even though it did not have quite the success it wanted last weekend, Wisconsin feels Minnesota-Duluth was a good way to prepare for North Dakota.
With a strong offensive attack in the Lamoureaux sisters and the confidence a winning season has given the rest of the Fighting Souix squad, the Badgers know a tough fight is in store.
“Us defensemen, especially, have been working on passing the puck quick, tape-to-tape passes; I think that’s key,” Pacholok said. “Moving the puck, let the puck do the work for us, I think it’ll be really handy for us this weekend.”