The University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team dominated the Cornell University Big Red this weekend, beating the non-conference foe 3-0 and 5-2 Friday and Saturday night, respectively.
During a weekend when most people were spending time with their family members around a dinner table, there was a family reunion on the ice of LaBahn Arena. Wisconsin captain Sydney McKibbon got a rare chance to play against the team of her cousin, Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh, for the first time in her collegiate career.
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This family reunion was bitter sweet for the Cornell coach as his little cousin would help lead her team to victory, complete with one shut-out for rookie goaltender Nikki Cece. Cece was the Badgers netminder for the second week in a row, and she managed to play with a finesse that is uncommon in a rookie goaltender.
The Badgers (14-1-1-0, 10-1-1-0 WCHA) and their goaltender gained momentum Friday, when the Badgers would manage to ice out the Big Red (6-4-1, 2-4-1 ECAC) 3-0. This advantageous start to the weekend would help to extend the Badgers’ success, and the sold-out arena would provide all the enthusiasm this team needed.
UW was led in scoring by junior forward Annie Pankowski, who has been having a productive two weeks. The Western Collegiate Hockey Association Offensive Player of the Week had a slow start to the season, not netting a goal until the Badgers matchup against the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Since then, Pankowski has netted a total of six goals in three games and doubled her points this season from six to 12. With Pankowski and the rest of her line finding their momentum, the Badgers proved to be a challenge too great for Cornell netminder Marlène Boissonnault.
With a border battle between Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities looming on the horizon, it was important that this weekend was a successful one for the UW. With many things, including special teams finally falling into place for this team, Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson told UW Athletics that this weekend was more than just a win for this team.
“We’ll gain a lot of things from tonight’s game other than the victory, which is obviously the most important part,” Johnson said. “It will help us become better and stronger.”
The Wisconsin-Minnesota border battle begins Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Wisconsin will have home ice advantage in this series, which will be much needed in this heated contest.