|1st||9:57||WIS||1-0||EV||Sarah Nurse (11)||Sydney McKibbon/14|
|1st||11:31||WIS||2-0||EV GW||Brittany Ammerman (13)||Karley Sylvester/24, Blayre Turnbull/18|
|1st||15:30||WIS||3-0||EV||Katy Josephs (9)||Kim Drake/3, Ann-Renée Desbiens/3|
|1st||17:13||STC||1-3||EV||Alyssa Erickson (4)||Kalli Funk/1, Vanessa Spataro/2|
|1st||17:29||WIS||4-1||EV||Baylee Wellhausen (7)||Annie Pankowski/20, Kim Drake/4|
|3rd||9:29||WIS||5-1||EV||Rachel Jones (1)||Kim Drake/5, Erika Sowchuk/4|
|St. Cloud State||1||0||0||1|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|St. Cloud State||4||5||6||15|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|St. Cloud State (8-27-1)||0/1||3/6||0|
|St. Cloud State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Julie Friend (L, 6-16-0)||59:58||5||22||18||9||49|
|Ann-Renée Desbiens (W, 22-6-4)||60:00||1||3||5||6||14|
MADISON, Wis. - The No. 3 Wisconsin women's hockey team took an early lead and never looked back on its way to a 5-1 win over St. Cloud State in the opening game of the best-of-three WCHA first round playoff series on Friday night at LaBahn Arena.
Five different players lit the lamp in the win, as Sarah Nurse, Brittany Ammerman, Katy Josephs, Baylee Wellhausen and Rachel Jones each scored for the Badgers.
"I thought our energy was good tonight," UW head coach Mark Johnson said. "We were creating some good quality chances. When we were able to get the puck by the goalie, we got rewarded. People driving through the middle of the ice and good connections on some really aggressive passes. It went well."
The Badgers (25-6-4) got on the board four times in the first period. After sophomore Sydney McKibbon won a faceoff in the St. Cloud State (8-27-1) zone, Nurse fired a shot from the top of the left circle into the net to give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the game.
Just over a minute later, Ammerman doubled the UW lead, tallying her 13th goal of the season as the senior capitalized on a rebound after seniors Karley Sylvester and Blayre Turnbull saw their shots turned away from SCSU goaltender Julie Friend.
Josephs took a beautiful feed from junior Kim Drake and fired the puck top shelf to propel Wisconsin to a 3-0 lead with under five minutes remaining, marking the senior's ninth goal of the year.
After St. Cloud State scored with less than three minutes to go, Wellhausen fired a shot between Friend's legs to give the Badgers a 4-1 lead heading into the first intermission. Wisconsin outshot St. Cloud State 26-4 in the first frame, and Wisconsin improved to 19-0-1 when holding a first period lead.
"We talked about coming out and setting the pace and setting the tone for six or eight minutes," Johnson said. "I thought we did a really good job of that. When we scored the first goal, Nurse scores off the faceoff play. We went to another level. We started playing even harder."
"It was obviously really important to get off to a fast start," Nurse said. I think for us to come out with a lot of energy, a lot of positivity, it really showed on the ice. I think when we get off to a quick start, we're an unstoppable team."
After a scoreless second, Jones scored her first of the year in the third period, redirecting a Drake shot into the net to cap off the scoring for Wisconsin. Drake ended the night with a career-best three assists.
"It's nice to see people getting rewarded," Johnson said. "Our effort throughout the year was pretty consistent. Out of the 34 games, there hasn't really been a lull. Some kids went periods of time without scoring but certainly, if you can get people going at this time of the year, it's going to help your chances."
Sophomore netminder Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 14 shots in the win, while Friend made 49 saves in a losing effort for the Huskies.
UW committed two penalties while St. Cloud State was called for three, but neither team was able to capitalize on power play opportunities.
The two teams meet for game two of the best-of-three series on Saturday in a 7 p.m. contest at LaBahn Arena. The winner of the series will skate in the WCHA Final Faceoff, March 7-8, in Grand Forks, North Dakota.