BEMIDJI, Minn. - The No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers proved Friday night why they're the number-one team in the country downing the Bemidji State University women's hockey team 7-1 at the Sanford Center. With the win, the Badgers also clinched the 2010-11 Western Collegiate Hockey Association Regular Season Championship.
The Badgers jumped out the gates firing on all cylinders taking advantage of a slow start by BSU. Wisconsin netted four goals within the first 18 minutes of play. Of the four goals, two were created from back-door passes, one from a shot off a rebound, and one coming from an accidental, but lucky, redirection off UW's Brittany Ammerman's skate. Even though the Beavers were to get out-shot 15-6, BSU would find some offensive hope in the final minute of the opening frame. Sadie Lundquist (So., Fwd., Cloquet, Minn.) played the puck to Erin Cody (Sr., Fwd., Roseville, Minn.) in the neutral zone. Cody carried the puck into the Badger zone and made a pass to Abby Williams (R-So., Fwd., Alexandria, Minn.) who was sitting on the far side of the slot. Williams had her stick lifted by a defending UW player, but she was able to get a hold of the pass and put a backhander past Becca Ruegsegger to score her first goal as a Bemidji State Beaver.
Many teams may have packed it up entering the second period down to the No. 1 team in the country 4-1, but the Beavers aren't like most teams. Carrying the momentum from Williams' goal into the second, the Beavers started possessing the puck in the Wisconsin, turning the tables a bit, and making the Badgers chase the puck around. BSU had a handful of good looks on net, but were unlucky enough to get one on target and past Ruegsegger. While the Beavers were unable to find a goal in the second period, there were able to keep the Badgers off the scoring sheet and headed to the locker rooms after two with the same three-goal deficit.
Unfortunately for the Beavers, Wisconsin would continue its relentless style of play wearing down the BSU defense, like they do to so many other teams. The Badgers would go on to post three more goals in the third, including one short-hander, to claim a 7-1 victory and clinch the WCHA regular season championship. Brianna Decker for the Badgers tallied four assists, while Olympian Hilary Knight recorded the game winner along with an additional assist.
The Beavers know drop to 12-12-3 (10-10-3-2 WCHA) on the season while the No. 1 Badgers claim their 25th win and advance to 25-2-2 (19-2-2-2 WCHA). Earlier this season when the two teams played in Madison, Wis. the first game of the weekend series was a similar 7-1 scoreline. Both teams clamped-down defensively the following night as the then-No. 5 Badgers finished the sweep with a 2-0 score.
The two teams will return tomorrow night at the Sanford Center at 4:07 p.m. to finish their regular season series.