After breaking out offensively their last game against Bemidji State, the No. 1 Wisconsin women’s hockey team (13-0-1, 9-0-1 Big Ten) will look to push the momentum against another bottom-conference team in St. Thomas (4-7-1, 2-7-1 WCHA).
This marks the first year of the Tommies being a part of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association conference. Previous years had seen the team compete in the division III MIAC conference, where the Tommies have dominated recently, recording 21 consecutive winning seasons. This type of play was what allowed St. Thomas to go up to the division I level, where they haven’t quite had the same success.
Their only conference wins this year have come against Bemidji St. (2-6-2, 1-6-1) and St. Cloud (4-5-1, 2-5-1). The Tommies have also allowed more goals in conference play than any other team in the WCHA. This bodes well for the Badgers who, despite being shutout for the first time since March of 2020 on Saturday, are still the nation’s second-highest scoring team.
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Conversely, the Tommie’s scoring output this season has been sparse. They’ve scored 16 goals in 12 games this season. This is good for an average of 1.33 goals per game as opposed to Wisconsin’s 4.86. St. Thomas’s two leading scorers, Luci Bianchi and Abby Promersberger, each have just three goals and five points. The Badgers this season have ten players with more than five points.
The lack of scoring from the Tommies this season has come from their power play. In 36 power play opportunities this year, St. Thomas has only managed to score two goals. The team has generally struggled to get shots off in general, averaging just 20.8 per game. This will make things easy for Wisconsin’s core defensive group of Grace Bowlby, Nicole LaMantia and Chayla Edwards, who are most responsible for the Badgers’ 18.4 shots allowed per game.
The Tommie’s defense has been about as impressive as their offense. Goalies Saskia Maurer and Alexa Dobchuk have alternated starts to mixed results. Maurer has seen a bit more success, posting a .916 save percentage with a 3-2 record, but the team still has yet to record a shutout.
It’s hard for the goalies to do that when the team has been allowing 38.4 shots per game. In fact, despite the team allowing the fifth most goals in the nation, they have the second most combined saves of any team. It goes to show just how many shots the opposing team is able to get off the Tommies, which is something the Badgers will surely love, seeing how they’ve shot the puck 38+ times in 10 games this season.
The Badgers seemingly have an advantage against St. Thomas in almost every category. It should be an easy sweep for #1 Wisconsin. But if anything was learned in Saturday’s 0-0 shootout win against Bemidji State, it’s that you can’t look past any opponent.
The Badgers will look to emulate their second game against the Bemidji instead. The Saturday-Sunday match-up against the Tommies will take place in Mendota Heights, MN with both games starting at 2 p.m. CT.