MADISON, Wis. -- he No. 6-ranked Wisconsin women's hockey team scored five goals in the final 30 minutes to overpower WCHA foe Minnesota State, 5-1, at LaBahn Arena Saturday afternoon.
Redshirt junior Brittany Ammerman paced the Wisconsin offense, lighting the lamp twice to bring her season total up to three goals. Senior Madison Packer and junior Blayre Turnbull each tallied their first goals of the season, while freshman Sarah Nurse punched in her first collegiate goal in the third period.
Senior goaltender Alex Rigsby recorded 28 saves, including 15 in the final stanza.
Coming off a 3-0 victory over MSU yesterday, the Badgers had their hands full from the start with a physical Maverick lineup. But Wisconsin pushed back, putting five goals on the board to complete the sweep of Minnesota State.
"It's similar to after last night's game," UW head coach Mark Johnson said. "We gather more information as we play and certainly it was a short turnaround starting at 3 p.m. today for our younger players to see how they were going to handle that situation. We had a little bit of adversity in the third period. They almost tied the game on us, but we came back and responded well. It's nice to win obviously, but more importantly we can come back Monday now and start to become a better hockey team."
Both teams ended up scoreless after a physical first period. MSU's Kelsie Scott was sent to the penalty box after some shoving broke out in front of Wisconsin's crease, giving the Badgers a power play opportunity with three minutes remaining in the period. But Wisconsin couldn't capitalize, and finished the first with 14 shots and no goals. Rigsby recorded five saves during the period.
The aggression continued into the second frame with Wisconsin spending six minutes in the penalty box on three penalties and MSU recording two penalties and four minutes in the box. With eight and a half minutes remaining in the period, Ammerman managed to break away with the puck during an MSU power play and, after juking a few Maverick defensemen, punch the puck over the shoulder of MSU goaltender Danielle Butters. The goal was the first short-handed goal of Ammerman's career and her second goal of the season.
Packer continued the offensive strike, weaving her way around the back of the Maverick's goal during a Wisconsin power play to flick the puck off Butters' pads and into the back of the net with a minute and a half left in the second period. The effort resulted in the thirteenth power-play goal of Packer's career and a 2-0 lead for the Badgers heading into the final period.
The third frame saw a flurry of offensive activity on both ends of the rink. MSU's Elisabeth Hewett sent a wrister from near the blue line that snuck past Rigsby just three minutes into the period. But the Badgers answered shortly after with a 3-on-2 break-away that ended with Ammerman claiming a goal from 20 feet out off an assist by Turnbull. The goal, Ammerman's third on the season, gave Wisconsin a 3-1 lead with 12 minutes left in the period.
Nurse, who made her Badger debut in yesterday's game, was the next to score for Wisconsin, recording her first collegiate goal after squeezing the puck between Butters and the left goal post on a break away opportunity. Turnbull then managed to maneuver past the Minnesota State's defensive line during a Maverick power play and fling a shot into the upper-left corner of the goal, earning Wisconsin its second short-handed goal of the game with six and a half minutes remaining.
The Badgers held off the Mavericks for the remainder of the period, finishing the game with a 5-1 win. Wisconsin finished the tilt with 37 total shots, eight more than MSU's 29.
"We're going to score by committee," Johnson said. "No different from what we saw today. If we're going to get three, four, five goals, it's going to have to come from multiple people. If you're able to establish that and get some kids to play with that type of confidence you'll be more difficult to defend. Obviously special teams-power play and penalty kill-are going to be important along with getting contributions by different people. When Sarah Nurse scores that's good and when Blayre scores a shorthanded goal that helps us out. And certainly Brit had a great weekend. Get some confidence in the younger players and hopefully by doing that we become more of a threat as we go throughout the season. But it's so early."
The victory improves Wisconsin's regular season record to 2-0-0 and all-time series record against the Mavericks to 58-1-3.
The Badgers will head to Minneapolis next weekend for a two-game series against conference rival Minnesota, with play beginning at 6 p.m. Friday night.
"You have to start at the starting line and that's what we did this weekend," Johnson said. "Now we start moving forward to the finish line. As we go along we'll try to correct some things this weekend and try to improve and get ready to go up to Minnesota this weekend."
- Brittany Ammerman recorded two goals on the afternoon to bring her season total up to three.
- Alex Rigsby collected 28 saves in the contest, including 15 in the final frame
- The Badgers are now 58-1-3 all-time against the Mavericks