The No. 4 Wisconsin women’s hockey team returned home to face St. Cloud State Friday and Saturday after being swept by Minnesota last weekend.
The team returned to the rink from their first losses of the season with a vengeance, dominating St. Cloud State in both match ups by scores of 4-1 and 6-0 respectively.
“Winning this was really key to us coming off of two losses,” junior Katy Josephs said. “So us coming out and having two really good games was really important.”
On Saturday head coach Mark Johnson mixed things up a bit in goal and gave freshman goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens her first career start. Desbiens, a Quebec native, recorded 17 saves and a shutout in a 6-0 domination of the Huskies.
Even with the change on Wisconsin’s last line of defense, the Badgers jumped out to an early lead. Just five minutes into the game and seconds into their first power play of the game, the Badgers bounced the puck around the outside of St. Cloud’s diamond before finding Courtney Burke up top who buried the puck into the top left corner of the net grabbing the first goal of the game and the first goal of the season for Burke.
The second period began with a flurry of goals. The first came just two minutes into the period when Karley Sylvester scored an unassisted goal during a power play.
After Wisconsin freshman Jenny Ryan was called for cross checking, St. Cloud went on the power play. However, it was the Badgers who proceeded to score a shorthanded goal on a 2v1 breakaway off Blayre Turnbull’s stick to bring the Wisconsin lead to three goals. Later in the period, redshirt junior Brittany Ammerman found her fifth goal of the season on a breakaway.
After a series of penalties, the Huskies found themselves on the power play for much of the remainder of the period while rattling off six shots forcing Desbiens to make some big saves in her first start. The Badger defense was able to hold off the onslaught and move into the third period with a 4-0 lead over the Huskies. All in all the Badgers finished the period with three goals from three different players.
Wisconsin didn’t quit on their offensive attack in the third period either. After countless attempts the Badgers were finally able to put in their fifth goal of the afternoon when Ammerman’s shot was saved by St. Cloud goaltender Katie Fitzgerald. Fitgerald’s victory was short lived as Turnbull buried the puck into the net on the rebound notching her second goal of the night.
The Badgers put the sixth goal of the night between the pipes with three minutes left when freshman Sarah Nurse popped a shot from outside. All in all eight Badgers scored this weekend, making a powerful statement about the depth of the team.
“This year we have really good team chemistry and our freshmen are playing really well,” Josephs said. “Compared to last year where we had a couple people that scored all of our goals, we have point output from girls all over the ice, which is huge.”
In their Friday night matchup, the Badgers dominated the offensive third in a physically demanding game that resulted in 15 combined penalties between the two sides. Despite having a total of 10 power plays on the night, only one of the Badgers’ four goals came with a man advantage, finishing the game with only 0.100 power play efficiency.
The Badgers’ first strike came 17 minutes into the first period. Josephs placed the puck on the tape of Natalie Berg’s stick who slipped the puck past the Huskies goalie Julie Friend, getting her first taste of the net this season.
The Badgers weren’t done scoring. Wisconsin dominated St. Cloud in the second period, out-shooting their opponents 32-1 and tallying three goals, putting the game out of the Huskies.
The first goal of the second period came on an unassisted shot by Josephs who found the net from just inside the blue line. Josephs tallied her second assist of the night on their second goal of the period when she found Ammerman on a breakaway, who put the puck into the net to make it 3-0 Wisconsin.
The fourth and final goal of the night for the Wisconsin Badgers once again came off Josephs’ stick. Josephs was able to pop the puck in the net off a rebound from senior defenseman Kelly Jaminski, whose shot was narrowly saved by Friend. With the goal, Josephs tallied her fourth point of the night to finish with two goals and two assists, a career high.
After falling to a few unfortunate penalties Wisconsin found themselves a player down for a majority of the third period. St. Cloud was able to score its first goal of the night on a power play over senior Alex Rigsby’s right shoulder. However, Rigsby was able to keep St. Cloud off the board for the remainder of the game with a few great saves in the third period, preventing the St. Cloud comeback.
“[Rigsby] played well,” Johnson said. “She didn’t get tested for the first two periods, then we take five penalties in the third period and they start to put on the pressure. Alex got a bit of a workout in that third period.”