The No. 1 University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team made history this weekend as they swept the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ridder Arena for the first time in 10 years.
The Badgers and the Gophers have a tumultuous relationship, with the two teams constantly vying to outdo the other. The Gophers usually have been successful at usurping the Badgers in Ridder, and the away series against Minnesota has always been one of the toughest tests for Wisconsin.
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Many people usually say the success of the Wisconsin hockey team can be determined by their success against Minnesota, especially in Minneapolis. In fact, many people were doubting whether or not Wisconsin deserved the No.1 spot overall, and said their performance at Minnesota would be the determining factor.
Wisconsin came out strong Saturday, with the Badgers and the Gophers remaining even until the end of the third period, when sophomore Presley Norby would score the game winning goal with a little more than five minutes left on the clock.
Saturday’s victory was monumental in ensuring Sunday’s victory, since Wisconsin would need all of the energy they could get to keep pushing for a series sweep. Of course, Minnesota was trying to prevent that at all costs, and their lossSaturday helped to fuel their need to win Sunday.
When two of the best teams in hockey meet on the ice, every goal counts, and the smallest of things could wind up losing you the game. Hence, why both teams made sure to make as few mistakes as possible, because allowing their team to capitalize on their mistakes could be the difference between winning and losing.
Only seven penalties were tallied during Saturday and Sunday’s contests, with four going against Wisconsin and three against Minnesota. While Wisconsin did not manage to score during one of their three power plays, Minnesota used each power play to their advantage, gaining one goal during each night, which could have been their key to winning the series.
Instead, Wisconsin seemed to gain more momentum after each goal scored by Minnesota, and Sunday’s contest would be so close that the Badgers would manage to bring it into overtime — their first overtime of the season.
With so much on the line, Wisconsin was looking at finally sweeping their dreaded foes at home, a feat that had not been accomplished by a UW team since January 2007. It would be Wisconsin’s captain Baylee Wellhausen who would earn the sweep for the Badgers, earning the game winning goal a minute into overtime.
Twelve games into the season and the Badgers are still undefeated, which gives the program their best season start since the 2015-16 season. Wisconsin was also ranked No.1 in the national unanimously in the USCHO women’s hockey poll this week, earning all 15 of the votes that were available.
Wisconsin comes home this weekend to take on Ohio State Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s contest is already sold out, with many Wisconsin fans anxious to see the best team in the nation.