Badgers split weekend series with Gophers, suffer 1st loss of season

first_imgAll the good things eventually came to an end Sunday, as the Wisconsin women’s hockey team ended its 32-game unbeaten streak in a 3-2 loss to Minnesota at the Kohl Center.The fierce rivalry against the Gophers (5-1-0) remained strong from the teams’ last meeting in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association final face-off last season. The Badgers (5-1-0) fought hard but could not keep up with their border foe Sunday afternoon, despite winning Friday night, 3-2. Saturday’s loss was Wisconsin’s first since Nov. 28, 2010.“It’s no fun to lose; we’re not in the business of losing,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “We had the opportunity to win, and that’s all you can ask for. Unfortunately, we came up a little bit short in [Sunday’s] game.”After falling behind 2-0 in the second period, the Badgers fought back to tie the game. Both goals were scored by senior forward and assistant captain Brooke Ammerman. Just 1:11 after the Gophers’ second goal in the second period, Ammerman found the back of the net, chipping the puck in from the right side.In the third period, Ammerman again got one in from inside the slot at 2:40, making the score even at two. However, Wisconsin could not hold onto the momentum as Gopher forward Amanda Kessel put the puck past UW goalie Alex Rigsby to seal the Badgers’ fate.“I thought we had great momentum. We just had a defensive breakdown and they scored on it,” Ammerman said. “It’s something to learn from.”The ultimate demise of the Badgers came from the lack of energy they displayed on the ice in the first half of the first period, being out-shot 11-2. They struggled to connect and stay composed on the ice, giving way to Minnesota’s first goal.Gophers’ junior defenseman Megan Bozek scored on a shot that sailed past Rigsby at the 11:20 mark in the first period. Freshman forward Meghan Lorence gave the Gophers a two-goal lead at 5:18 in the second period.“The first eight, 10, 12 minutes, it didn’t look like we were going to show up,” Johnson said. “I talked about it before the game that they were going to come out and they were going to push us and be very aggressive, and we didn’t react very well.”Despite the slow start, the Badgers did settle down and generate a comeback. But Minnesota’s defense gave little opportunity to score. With 28 blocks in Sunday’s game and five successful penalty kills, Wisconsin came up short.“We have a lot of young players; we still have to get it all together,” junior defenseman Stefanie McKeough said. “It’s early in the season, so I don’t think anyone is nervous or getting scared about it. They were blocking a lot of our shots. We just needed to find a way to beat their penalty kill, and we get to play them again later in the season.”Friday night was a different story for the Badgers, as they came out strong from the beginning by scoring three goals in the first period. Freshman forward Katy Josephs scored the first goal at the 2:30 mark. Two of the goals came from senior forward and assistant captain Carolyne Prevost. The first goal came off a shot from inside the slot at 3:58 in the first period, and the latter goal from a similar shot inside the right circle that gave the Badgers a 3-0 early lead.“I’m just trying to put the puck on the net, and usually good things happen from that,” Prevost said. “I thought we had a great first shift, and I think we built off that momentum through that whole first period.”Minnesota did fight back and managed to put two goals away. The first came in the second period at 11:11 on a wraparound shot by senior defenseman Anne Schleper that UW goalie Alex Rigsby could not adjust to, and the latter was provided by sophomore forward Kelly Terry at 8:23 in the third period.Nevertheless, the Badgers held onto their lead in a physical battle with their blood rivals to allow them to emerge victorious.“What we talked about between the second and the third period is an opportunity [to] do the little things that are necessary to win a hockey game in the next 20 minutes,” Johnson said after Friday’s game. “Early in the season, it’s nice to see we are able to have a victory. We have points in the bank, and they can’t take them away from us.”last_img