The University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team, fueled by a variety of offensive sources, swept Minnesota State Mankato this weekend in WCHA action at the Kohl Center.
The top-ranked Badgers topped the Mavericks 7-2 on Sunday afternoon and blanked Mankato 8-0 on Friday. The sweep improved Wisconsin’s record to 16-0-2 and dropped Minnesota State to 6-9-1. UW regained the WCHA lead over Minnesota with the win on Sunday.
In Sunday’s 7-2 victory, fans saw three different Badgers each score a pair of goals. Freshman Brooke Ammerman, junior Meghan Duggan and junior Kyla Sanders each netted two goals as the UW cruised to its sixth straight win.
Duggan’s pair of goals moved her ahead of former Badger Jackie Friesen (2001-05) to fifth all-time with 54 career goals.
Mankato, who recently gave No. 2 Minnesota a pair of close games, has been much better than their record may indicate. Ammerman commented on how the Mavericks’ series against Minnesota last week affected the Badgers’ preparation heading into this weekend.
“We came out extra hard knowing [Mankato] had played Minnesota and other teams really tough, so after watching video we knew we had to give our best effort,” Ammerman said following Sunday’s win. “It was nice to get the wins.”
Ammerman, who also scored on Friday, improved her season total to 20 goals, good for second in the nation behind only teammate Hilary Knight. Ammerman, known as a pure goal scorer, commented on Wisconsin’s ability to capitalize on opportunity, as the Badgers found the net 15 times against Mankato on only 62 shots.
“It’s awesome that we’re really deep offensively,” Ammerman said. “We have a lot of people who can put the puck in the net. It’s good that we’re finishing.”
Duggan contributed a team-high 10 shots in the series. Sanders, who had her first two- goal game of the year, looked right at home playing right wing with Ammerman and fellow junior Jasmine Giles. Sanders has seen time on all four lines this year but may have found a home on the Badgers’ third line with Ammerman and Giles.
“I played with Giles last year and it was awesome, and obviously Brooke is a great freshman,” Sanders said. “We all played really well today. It was a lot of fun.”
Giles had three assists in the win. Following the game, Giles — who assisted on both of Sanders’ goals — spoke about the Badgers’ overall accuracy in the win.
“If you look at the goals, especially the goals Kyla had, they were pretty nice goals. The goalie never really had a chance,” Giles said. “We normally expect to get shots, but we finished really well this weekend.”
Wisconsin’s senior goalie Jessie Vetter stopped 14 shots in the first two periods before head coach Mark Johnson gave reserve netminder Alannah McCready a shot to play. McCready stopped 13 of the 14 shots she faced in the third period.
In Friday’s 8-0 win, both Knight and captain Erika Lawler had big games. Knight finished with two goals and three assists, while Lawler chipped in a pair of goals and two assists. Angie Keseley added a pair of goals, making it six goals for the Badgers’ top line of Knight, Keseley and Lawler.
Wisconsin exploded offensively in the second period after a lackluster first period, scoring six times on only 12 shots. It was the highest scoring period of the year for the Badgers.
Also scoring for the UW were Ammerman and Mallory Deluce, who also added a helper in the blowout win. Vetter stopped all 16 shots she saw, good for her seventh shutout of the season.