Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Johnson expects tough competition with North Dakota

As the Wisconsin women’s hockey team is getting set to continue its 2011-12 season, head coach Mark Johnson is looking forward to seeing leadership from both veterans and newcomers.

This year, the team welcomes four freshman, all of whom Johnson feels have great hockey skills and mindset.

“Hopefully, we are talking about all of [the four freshman], that will be a really good thing,” Johnson said. “They are all going to get an opportunity to play and certainly hope they have some success early on because that will bode well as you go through the season.”


Johnson added he feels the team’s freshmen have gotten some valuable play time in early matches against Lindenwood two weekends ago and through practice.

This weekend’s matchup against North Dakota will certainly prove to be a increase in competition.

“Certainly for the new players it is going to be a big step up in regards to the competition that you are playing,” Johnson said. “It’s always nice to get in some games early on just to let the players get a feel for the Kohl Center, what a game day routine is like and have them go through that and then experience some success on the ice.”

Johnson said he is focused on embracing the one-day-at-a-time mentality. He emphasizes constant evaluation of practices and games as essential in progressing day-to-day.

“As I look at it, you try to make progress everyday, and on the weekends you are playing your games,” Johnson said. “You evaluate it and try to look forward and continue to make improvements.”

Veteran leadership

Team leadership changes from year to year with a new captain, and senior Hilary Knight may be a little more quiet than last year’s captain Meghan Duggan, but Johnson said he feels Knight is up to the job.

“I think [Knight] is different, I think she might be a little bit more soft-spoken on a consistent basis, but I think her presence, her work habits speak very loudly in what she expects her teammates to do,” Johnson said.

Although Knight has stepped up to motivate and mentor her teammates, the success of the season will depend on the team working together.

Johnson said he still feels that it is the senior leadership that reflects on the rest of the team.

“The one nice thing about this group is they all work hard, and they work hard everyday, and that is very encouraging,” Johnson said.


Johnson said he knows injuries are just a part of the game. It’s just business as usual and the coaches and players take that, build upon it and move forward.

“That’s always a concern as you go through a season, how many kids are going to miss games due to injuries,” Johnson said. “You can’t predict it, you just have to talk to your trainers in the morning, try to figure out who is going to be at practice in the afternoon and move forward”

The Badgers are slowly starting to get back to their normal roster with the early injured players making their way back onto the ice. The Badgers faced a short roster due to injuries during camps, but benefited from the increased playing time for younger, less experienced players.

“The nice thing about having the shorter roster early on was kids got a lot of reps, a lot of playing time in their first games,” Johnson said. “As you go through the season, those little things help out.”

Tough competition

With new talent, North Dakota continues to pose a threat to Wisconsin.

“They have added a lot of depth with some young European players; they only lost one senior from last year’s team, which is very well,” Johnson said. “It will be a tough opponent.”

Overall, the Badgers are looking at facing some tough conference play this year. Each team has their strengths and the Badgers are looking forward to the competitive play.

“If you look at our league, those teams (North Dakota, Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth) are capable of winning the whole thing at the end of the season, so it is going to be very competitive,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he is looking forward to this year’s competition, and added he thinks it will be a really good thing for the sport. The players, coaches and fans can benefit equally from this increased level of play.

“It just helps us more,” Johnson said. “So people can come to games now and not know who is going to win. They are going to be entertained, they are going to see competition.”

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