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Greatest Games Bracket: No. 2 vs No. 15

The storied history of Wisconsin women's hockey is filled with memorable games, but which one is the best of all time? This summer, we're going to determine the greatest Wisconsin women's hockey game and we're putting it to a vote. A total of 16 games will be paired off bracket-style and a new matchup will appear every-other day for fan voting on the UW Women's Hockey Facebook page.

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The first round of the Greatest Game Bracket is starting to wind down, with only two matchups left. The second-seeded game is the 2007 NCAA championship game, in which the Badgers defeated Minnesota Duluth 4-1 in Lake Placid, N.Y. At No. 15 is the 2011 Fill The Bowl game against Minnesota. The Badgers used an NCAA record crowd to gain an early lead and eventual win over Minnesota.

Below are the recaps and box scores from the two games. To cast your vote, head over to the women's hockey Facebook page and select your choice in the corresponding fan poll. The votes will be tallied and a winner declared on Wednesday morning, July 25, before the next matchup is announced.

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No. 2 - 2007 National Championship (March 18, 2007)

Badgers repeat as NCAA champs!


Box Score

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Four different Badgers scored as the No. 1 Wisconsin women's hockey team defeated Minnesota Duluth, 4-1, Sunday afternoon in the NCAA Frozen Four championship game at Herb Brooks Arena to claim the team's second straight NCAA title.

In the opening period, Jinelle Zaugg scored Wisconsin's first goal on a power play opportunity. Three skaters tallied goals in the second frame for UW including: Erika Lawler, Sara Bauer and Jasmine Giles.

Wisconsin doubled its lead early in the second period when Lawler slipped a shot underneath UMD goalie Kim Martin from the bottom of the left circle. Freshman Meghan Duggan and Bauer each earned assists on Lawler's 10th goal of the season. The Badgers went up 3-0 on the Bulldogs at the 11:56 mark of the second. Bauer snapped a shot into the upper right corner of the net above Martin's glove hand for her 24th goal of the year.

Minnesota Duluth got on the board less than three minutes later when Emmanuelle Blais tipped a shot from the point by Noemie Marin past Jessie Vetter. The power-play goal snapped a 422 minute and 36 second shutout streak for the Badgers in NCAA tournament play. However, it took UW just 10 seconds to respond to UMD's goal as Lawler got a breakaway off of the ensuing faceoff. Martin made the initial save, but Giles was there to flip the puck over her on the rebound, giving the Badgers a 4-1 advantage.


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No. 15 - 2011 Fill The Bowl vs Minnesota (Jan. 29, 2011)

Badgers drop Gophers, 3-1, before 10,668 fans


Box Score

MADISON, Wis. -- No. 1 Wisconsin set a new NCAA women's hockey attendance record when 10,668 fans watched the Badgers earn a 3-1 win over No. 4 Minnesota in the Fill the Bowl game Saturday night at the Kohl Center.

Saturday night's game saw sophomore Brianna Decker score her ninth game-winning goal of the season to lead Wisconsin past the Gophers and extend UW's unbeaten streak to 14 games. Decker's tally also broke the UW program record for most game-winning goals in a single season.

The Badgers used the momentum they gained from the record-breaking crowd to jump out to an early lead against Minnesota. Junior Hilary Knight put Wisconsin on the board just 47seconds into the game, beating Minnesota goaltender Noora Raty stick-side for the goal. Wisconsin took a 2-0 lead later in the period on Decker's eventual game-winner, her second short-handed goal of the year.

Minnesota scored its lone goal of the night at the 4:42 mark of the second period, also on the penalty kill. UW would regained the two-goal lead with 8:07 left to play in the second frame as junior Carolyne Prevost scored on Wisconsin's fourth power-play opportunity of the game.

Greatest Games Bracket: No. 3 vs No. 14

The storied history of Wisconsin women's hockey is filled with memorable games, but which one is the best of all time? This summer, we're going to determine the greatest Wisconsin women's hockey game and we're putting it to a vote. A total of 16 games will be paired off bracket-style and a new matchup will appear every-other day for fan voting on the UW Women's Hockey Facebook page.

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It's a goaltender duel in the No. 3 vs. No. 14 pairing. Coming in at No. 3 is the 2009 National Championship game that saw the then-senior Jessie Vetter turn away 37-shots in a shutout effort to close out her storied career. Wisconsin's first starting goaltender, Jackie MacMillan, is the main showcase in the 14 seed, as MacMillan made 47 saves in the program's first win against both a ranked opponent and the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs.

Below are the recaps and box scores from the two games. To cast your vote, head over to the women's hockey Facebook page and select your choice in the corresponding fan poll. The votes will be tallied and a winner declared on Monday morning, July 23, before the next matchup is announced.

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No. 3 - 200 9 National Championship (March 22, 2009)

National champs again!


Box Score

BOSTON -- The Wisconsin women's hockey team has done it again! Head coach Mark Johnson's top-seeded Badgers secured their third NCAA title in four years with a 5-0 victory over No. 3 seed Mercyhurst in the NCAA championship game at Agganis Arena Sunday afternoon

When the final horn sounded, the Badgers converged on goaltender Jessie Vetter as sticks and gloves went flying into the air. The senior goaltender was terrific as she turned away a career high-tying 37 shots to earn her NCAA-record 39th career shutout and 14th this season, also an NCAA record.

Brooke Ammerman tucked in the game's first goal to the left of Mercyhurst goaltender Hillary Pattenden 5:28 into the second stanza. Meghan Duggan then knocked in a rebound at 8:48 for a 2-0 lead. Less than two minutes later, Angie Keseley scored on a beautiful give-and-go from Erika Lawler at 10:38.

Wisconsin added a pair of third period goals, as well. Malee Windmeier scored just her second goal of the season at 3:26, while Hilary Knight put away her nation-leading and school-record 45th tally of the season to close the scoring at 5:38.


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No. 14 - First win against Minnesota Duluth (Oct. 20, 2000)

Women's hockey stuns No. 3 Minnesota Duluth


Box Score

DULUTH, Minn. -- The University of Wisconsin earned its first win over a ranked opponent on Friday when it knocked off third-ranked Minnesota Duluth, 4-2, at the DECC. Jackie MacMillan stopped 47 shots and Michelle Sikich scored the game-winner and added an assist, as the Badgers led from the midway point of the first period on.

The Badgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on a pair of power-play goals. The first came when Meghan Hunter roofed a shot over UMD goaltender Tuula Puputti at the 9:38 mark. Sis Paulsen scored the second at 14:15 of the first. Sikich hit Paulsen in the right slot, who slipped the puck just under Puputti's pad for the goal.

After Minnesota Duluth scored their first goal at 15:26, UW had an answer less than three minutes later when Sikich converted a rebound on Kelly Kegley's wrap-around attempt. The Bulldogs took just 28 seconds in the third period to cut UW's 3-1 lead to one with a tally on a player-advantage. Once again the Badgers had an answer, as Steph Millar deflected a Paulsen slap shot taken from the top of the right circle.

MacMillan stopped 18 shots in the first, 14 in the second and 15 more in the third period to improve her season mark to a perfect 3-0-0.

Greatest Games Bracket: No. 4 vs No. 13

The storied history of Wisconsin women's hockey is filled with memorable games, but which one is the best of all time? This summer, we're going to determine the greatest Wisconsin women's hockey game and we're putting it to a vote. A total of 16 games will be paired off bracket-style and a new matchup will appear every-other day for fan voting on the UW Women's Hockey Facebook page.

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The No. 4 vs. No. 13 matchup features the first of four national championship games. Coming in at No. 4 is the 2011 National Championship game that saw the Badgers down Boston University 4-1. At No. 13 is the first hockey game to be played at Camp Randall Stadium and, at the time, set the NCAA single-game attendance record.

Below are the recaps and box scores from the two games. To cast your vote, head over to the women's hockey Facebook page and select your choice in the corresponding fan poll. The votes will be tallied and a winner declared on Saturday morning, July 21, before the next matchup is announced.

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No. 4 - 2011 National Championship (March 20, 2011)

National champion Badgers bring home fourth crown!


Box Score

ERIE, Pa. -- The No. 1 Wisconsin women's hockey team won its fourth national championship in six years on Sunday as the Badgers defeated Boston University, 4-1, at Tullio Arena in front of 3,956 fans.

Despite UW outshooting BU 10-4 in the first period, the teams remained locked in a scoreless tie after the opening 20 minutes. The Badgers finally put one past BU goaltender Kerrin Sperry at the 2:25 mark of the second period when Carolyne Prevost redirected a shot from the point to give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead.

Wisconsin then took a 2-0 lead with 4:26 remaining in the middle frame when junior Brooke Ammerman converted the eventual game-winner on the power play. With just 3:23 remaining, the Badgers extended their lead back to two. Junior Hilary Knight gained control of the puck and took it into the zone, firing a shot at Sperry. The rebound popped loose, and a streaking Mallory Deluce buried it.

The Terriers pulled Sperry immediately following Deluce's goal and again with 2:33 to go. BU fired five shots, including two stopped by Alex Rigsby, before Prevost secured the victory and national championship with an empty-net goal at 19:42.


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No. 13 - Camp Randall Hockey Classic (Feb. 6, 2010)

Badgers freeze Beavers in 6-1 outdoor victory


Box Score

MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin women's hockey team defeated the Bemidji State Beavers, 6-1, in the first-ever Culver's Camp Randall Hockey Classic on Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers played in front of an NCAA-record crowd of 8,263 fans in the second-ever women's hockey outdoor showdown.

Sophomore Carolyne Prevost scored the first goal in Camp Randall history at the 16:53 mark when she broke away from the Bemidji State defense and backhanded it in to put the Badgers up 1-0. The Badgers kept up the pressure on the Beavers, outshooting Bemidji 13-2 in the first 20 minutes of play. At the close of the second frame, with the Badgers leading 4-0, Wisconsin dominated the shot chart 29-6.

Kelly Nash finished the contest with a career-high four points, scoring a goal and tallying three assists. The Badgers dominated offensively, outshooting the Beavers 42-13. Freshman goaltender Becca Ruegsegger finished with 13 saves in net for Wisconsin, and Alana McElhinney recorded 36 for BSU.

Greatest Games Bracket: No. 5 vs No. 12

The storied history of Wisconsin women's hockey is filled with memorable games, but which one is the best of all time? This summer, we're going to determine the greatest Wisconsin women's hockey game and we're putting it to a vote. A total of 16 games will be paired off bracket-style and a new matchup will appear every-other day for fan voting on the UW Women's Hockey Facebook page.

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Today's No. 5 vs. No. 12 matchup continues the trend of great overtime games. Coming in at No. 5 is the infamous four-overtime win against Harvard on March 10, 2007 as the Badgers earned their second-consecutive trip to the Frozen Four. The 12th-seeded game features the Badgers' overtime win in the NCAA quarterfinals vs. Minnesota, earning their third-straight trip to the Frozen Four.

Below are the recaps and box scores from the two games. To cast your vote, head over to the women's hockey Facebook page and select your choice in the corresponding fan poll. The votes will be tallied and a winner declared on Thursday morning, July 19, before the next matchup is announced.

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No. 5 - Four OT win against Harvard (March 10, 2007)

Zaugg's goal lifts UW over Harvard in 4 OTs

Box Score

MADISON, Wis. -- It took over 120 minutes of scoreless hockey, but junior Jinelle Zaugg's goal at 7:09 into the fourth overtime vaulted Wisconsin past Harvard 1-0 and into the NCAA Frozen Four. Saturday night's game ranks as the second longest game in NCAA history.

The Eagle River, Wis., native scored her 26th goal of the season at the 127:09 mark of the contest and was assisted by senior Sara Bauer and sophomore Alycia Matthews. Bauer passed from the left circle across the front of the goal to an open Zaugg who one-timed it over goalie Brittany Martin's shoulder for the game-winner.

The Badgers played their final game in Madison for the 2007 season in front of a Kohl Center women's hockey record-setting crowd of 5,125. This tally also ranks as the second largest college women's hockey crowd since the NCAA sponsored the sport in 2000-01 behind a 5,167 crowd at the 2003 championship game in Duluth, Minn., when Minnesota Duluth skated to a 4-3 double overtime win over Harvard.

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No. 12 - NCAA quarterfinal OT win vs Minnesota (March 15, 2008)

Deluce sends Badgers to Frozen Four

Box Score

MINNEAPOLIS -- Led by goals from three freshman, including the game-winner 1:29 into overtime by Mallory Deluce, the No. 4/5 Wisconsin women's hockey team outlasted No. 5/4 Minnesota 3-2 Saturday night at Ridder Arena in an NCAA quarterfinal.

Kelly Nash and Hilary Knight each scored in regulation as the two-time defending NCAA champion Badgers advanced to the Frozen Four, held March 20 and 22 in Duluth, Minn., for the third straight season.








Greatest Games Bracket: No. 6 vs No. 11

The storied history of Wisconsin women's hockey is filled with memorable games, but which one is the best of all time? This summer, we're going to determine the greatest Wisconsin women's hockey game and we're putting it to a vote. A total of 16 games will be paired off bracket-style and a new matchup will appear every-other day for fan voting on the UW Women's Hockey Facebook page.

Today's No. 6 vs. No. 11 pits two OT thrillers against each other. The 6th seed is the OT WCHA Championship win against arch rival Minnesota on March 5, 2011 as the Badgers earned their fourth WCHA tournament title. The 11th-seeded game features the Badgers' WCHA OT Semifinal win against UMD on March 5, 2005.

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Below are the recaps and box scores from the two games. To cast your vote, head over to the women's hockey Facebook page and select your choice in the corresponding fan poll. The votes will be tallied and a winner declared on Tuesday morning, July 17, before the next matchup is announced.

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No. 6 - 2011 WCHA championship game OT win vs Minnesota (March 5, 2011)

Nash's OT tally gives Badgers WCHA Final Face-Off crown


Box Score

MINNEAPOLIS -- Senior Kelly Nash scored the game-winning goal in overtime after the top-ranked Badgers overcame 3-0 and 4-2 deficits to defeat No. 3 Minnesota, 5-4, and earn their fourth Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament title.

Wisconsin trailed 4-2 heading into the third period and used goals by freshman Madison Packer and senior Meghan Duggan to tie it at 4-4 with 3:15 to play.

It took 14:11 of overtime action before the Badgers sealed the 2011 WCHA Final Face-off crown, but Nash solved Minnesota goaltender Noora Raty off a feed from senior Geena Prough to give UW its only lead of the game.

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No. 11 - 2005 WCHA semifinal overtime win vs UMD (March 5, 2005)

Overtime goal by Cole gives Badgers a shot at WCHA title


Box Score

MIINEAPOLIS -- The No. 3 Wisconsin women's hockey advanced to the 2005 WCHA Championship game after a thrilling overtime goal was scored by junior forward Sharon Cole two minutes and 34 seconds into the overtime period. The 3-2 victory Saturday afternoon at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis was the fifth meeting for the Badgers and Minnesota Duluth.

After 2:34 of intense overtime action, Lindsay Macy pushed the puck out of the corner to Sara Bauer. Patient with the puck, Bauer allowed Cole to get into position before lacing the puck through the UMD defender's skate and stick for Cole to shoot past Schaublin on the low left side. The goal extended Cole's point streak to 10 games as well as giving the team a 10-game winning streak.





Greatest Games Bracket: No. 7 vs No. 10

The storied history of Wisconsin women's hockey is filled with memorable games, but which one is the best of all time? This summer, we're going to determine the greatest Wisconsin women's hockey game and we're putting it to a vote. A total of 16 games will be paired off bracket-style and a new matchup will appear every-other day for fan voting on the UW Women's Hockey Facebook page.

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Just like the last matchup, today's No. 7 vs. No. 10 pairing features two more milestones for the women's hockey program. The 7th seed is the first WCHA championship win against Minnesota on March 12, 2006. The 10th-seeded game features the Badgers' first-ever advance to the WCHA Championship game after defeating the eventual national champions Minnesota-Duluth on March 8, 2002.

Below are the recaps and box scores from the two games. To cast your vote, head over to the women's hockey Facebook page and select your choice in the corresponding fan poll. The votes will be tallied and a winner declared on Sunday, July 15, before the next matchup is announced.

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No. 7 - First WCHA Championship (March 12, 2006)

Wisconsin wins WCHA Championship


Box Score

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Wisconsin women's hockey team earned its first-ever Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament title at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. Avenging last season's championship loss, the Badgers downed Minnesota, 4-1, with three power-play goals.

In the first, semifinal star Cyndy Kenyon scored on the first power play, finishing a slick tic-tac-toe at 5:14 from Sara Bauer and Meaghan Mikkelson. Minnesota responded midway through the period at 12:15 when a crowd in the crease was enough to push UW goalie Meghan Horras, and the puck, over the goal line. Allie Sanchez was credited with the Gophers' only goal.

The fourth and final goal was scored by Mikkelson whose shot sliced through traffic just five seconds into a power play. Captain Sharon Cole and junior Bauer marked assists. Bauer closed out the weekend with eight points and was named the tournament MVP.

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No. 10 - UW advances to first-ever WCHA Championship game (March 18, 2002)

Women's hockey advances to championship game


Box Score

BLAINE, Minn. -- The Wisconsin women's hockey team improved to 15-2-0 since the start of 2002 and advanced to its first WCHA Women's Final Five Championship Game with a 4-1 victory over No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth at Fogerty Arena.

Forward Karen Rickard put the Badgers ahead at 4:20 of the first period on a spectacular effort backhanded goal. Meghan Hunter extended the lead for the Badgers with a power-play empty-net goal at 11:11. The Badgers grabbed a 3-0 lead at 5:35 of the second period with a goal from Sis Paulsen coming straight out of the penalty box.

Despite a Minnesota-Duluth goal late in the second, Wisconsin regained its three-goal lead early in the third period when Jackie Friesen scored her seventh of the season. MacMillan and the Badger defense was stellar as the Badgers won their third consecutive game against the defending NCAA Champion Bulldogs.

Greatest Games Bracket: No. 8 vs No. 9

The storied history of Wisconsin women's hockey is filled with memorable games, but which one is the best of all time? This summer, we're going to determine the greatest Wisconsin women's hockey game and we're putting it to a vote. A total of 16 games will be paired off bracket-style and a new matchup will appear every-other day for fan voting on the UW Women's Hockey Facebook page.

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Today's No. 8 vs. No. 9 matchup features two milestones for the women's hockey program. The 8th seed is the double-OT win against Mercyhurst on March 18, 2006 as the Badgers earned their first trip to the Frozen Four. The 9th-seeded game features the Badgers' first win against arch rival Minnesota and a third-place finish at the WCHA Championship on March 10, 2001.

Below are the recaps and box scores from the two games. To cast your vote, head over to the women's hockey Facebook page and select your choice in the corresponding fan poll. The votes will be tallied and a winner declared on Friday, July 13, before the next matchup is announced.

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No. 8 - First NCAA tournament win (March 18, 2006)

Wisconsin advances to Frozen Four after double-OT thriller


MADISON, Wis. -- Tia Hanson tipped in the winning goal in double overtime to give the No. 2 Badgers a 2-1 advantage over No. 7 Mercyhurst in the women's ice hockey NCAA regional game. Playing 90:10 it was the longest game on record for UW. The Badgers advanced to the Frozen Four to face St. Lawrence in its first trip to the finals.

The Lakers jumped to a 1-0 lead 9:06 into the game, but Wisconsin responded with a goal less than five minutes later when junior Bobbi-Jo Slusar scored on a power-play slap shot from the blue line. 

Wisconsin goalie Jessie Vetter and Mercyhurst goalie Laura Hosier were unfazed entering the second overtime period, both stopping every puck thrown at them. Halfway through the second overtime, Wisconsin finally broke the puck through Mercyhurst's defense. From above the right circle, Badger junior Kristin Witting sliced the puck in the direction of the net. A tip by Hanson snuck the puck around Hosier's right skate to end the night's hockey action.


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No. 9 - First win against Minnesota & Third Place at WCHA tournament (March 10, 2001)

Badgers defeats No. 3 Minnesota to earn third at WCHA Championship


ROCHESTER, Minn. - The seventh-ranked Wisconsin women's hockey team overcame three one-goal deficits to win the third-place game at the WCHA Women's Championship over third-ranked Minnesota. Steph Millar scored the game-winning goal midway through the third to give the Badgers the win.

Millar tallied what would be the game-winner for her ninth of the season. Sis Paulsen pinched deep along the boards, skated behind the net with the puck and made a feed to Hunter in front. The puck went off Hunter's stick to Millar in the slot, who buried the wrist shot.

Minnesota had a chance to tie on a Badger power play at about 11 minutes of the third period. Clarke stole the puck at her own blue like and skated in alone against MacMillan. The sophomore stuck out the left pad to keep the lead for Wisconsin.

Achievements of the Year: Badgers are NCAA runner-up

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While losing in the national championship game usually ends the season on a bitter note, the Wisconsin women's hockey team had one of its strongest seasons to date.

The Badgers posted a 23-3-2-1 record in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, claiming their fourth conference title in program history.

After nearly duplicating last year's success in the WCHA regular season, Wisconsin advanced to the 2012 national collegiate title game, but fell to Minnesota by a score of 4-2.

The Badgers and Gophers scored a combined five goals in the first period to open the game. Wisconsin was on the short end of the opening frame and started the second period with a 3-2 deficit. Both team's defenses buckled-down in the second as neither team could find the back of the net. In the third period the Badgers out-shot the Gophers 20-9. However, Minnesota would be the one to tally a goal, as the Gophers went on to win.

The day before the national championship game, junior forward Brianna Decker was named the recipient of the 2012 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given annually to the best player in women's hockey. Decker was also named the WCHA's Player of the Year and earned first-team All-America honors after leading the nation with 37 goals.

Senior Hilary Knight capped off a remarkable career at UW, setting nearly every offensive record in program history. She owns eight separate career records in: points (262), goals (161), game-winning goals (30), power-play goals (37), short-handed goals (8), shots (986), plus/minus (+167) and hat tricks (9).

Sophomore netminder Alex Rigsby also had a fantastic season. Playing in all 40 games, Rigsby broke the school record for most saves in a season, stopping 1044 of 1100 shots on net. Her 1,044 saves was the most made by a single netminder in the nation during the season. Her .949 save percentage was second-best in the nation and ranked third all-time at UW for highest single-season save percentage.

As a team the Badgers had the best penalty-kill unit and fourth-best power play in the nation.

Wisconsin also lead the nation in attendance, averaging 1,856 fans per game in 40 games and boasted the best home attendance in the nation with 2,689 fans per game.


Lucas at Large: Momentum or not, Johnson likes Badgers' chances

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How do you quantify momentum? Especially in a program that wins so much?

UW women's hockey coach Mark Johnson has rarely been forced to go down this path where the momentum of his team has come into question.

"Momentum comes in different areas,'' Johnson reasoned. "Obviously if you win a big game and there are some dramatics within that game -- if you happen to win in overtime -- it's going to carry some energy over to your next practice or game.

"If you beat a real high-quality opponent, I think it can do the same thing. That's what is so fun about the postseason. Unlike regular-season games, the playoff games are all big. Certainly, the momentum of the season and playoffs can carry into the NCAA games.''

But what if the opposite is true? The Badgers lost their final game of the regular season to Ohio State, and they also lost to Minnesota Duluth in the WCHA Final Face-Off. Do they have momentum going into Saturday's NCAA quarterfinal matchup against Mercyhurst?

"I think we're in a good spot, whether you define it as momentum or not,'' Johnson said. "As I was telling our staff this week, if we were sitting in the locker room in September and we were saying, 'We're going to be the No. 1 seed,' we would have taken it.

"We're in a good position. We're pretty healthy and we're where we need to be. Like any sport, it's now going to come down to execution. At the end of the day, you don't want to have any regrets. Championship teams don't make any excuses.''

Losing two of their last four games has been a breaking news story in women's college hockey, particularly since the Badgers lost only twice in their first 34 games. A Johnson-coached team hasn't lost consecutive games in five years.

Consider: after losing 3-2 to Minnesota on Oct. 16, the Badgers bounced back with a 4-3 win over Duluth; after losing 1-0 to the Gophers on Jan. 7, they crushed North Dakota 8-2; after losing 4-2 to Ohio State on Feb. 18, they overwhelmed Minnesota State 7-0.

"We've done a lot of good things,'' Johnson said modestly.

Does he still believe that you can learn more about yourself after a loss than a win even though his teams have so little experience with losing?

"Absolutely,'' he said. "You ask yourself, 'What do we need to do to make sure we don't feel this way after our next game?'''

What about the leadership in his locker room? How have some of his better players handled going 2-2 over their last four games? "Anytime you lose it's a tough pill to swallow,'' he said. "We haven't been there very often (as a program). But you deal with it.''

To this end, Johnson has been encouraged by their reaction to the recent setbacks. "They're saying the right things,'' he said. "They're coming to practice and doing the right things. You never want to lose but if you can become better, it's a good path to go down.''

It's just that so few people around here are conditioned to this conversation.

"When we lost a (NCAA) quarterfinal game in '05 to Dartmouth,'' Johnson said, "it was one of those things where we talked afterward and planted a seed for the following year. That learning experience helped us win in '06.

"That's how I look at our playoff system. It's a good two week learning opportunity, whether you've been successful or not. If you get to see another day - which we do - you need to take some things from the loss and move on. That's how I look at momentum.''

Never let them see you sweat, either.

"It comes down to habits and what we do on a daily basis,'' said Johnson, whose calm and collected demeanor sets the tone for his team. "It's the way you go about business. You learn from what the previous game showed you.

"If you're consistent in what you do and your approach, the players understand that and they get to the point where they don't like losing either. They'll come back more focused on paying attention to detail and playing with a little more hunger.''

That's what he's counting on against Mercyhurst.

"Executing and playing with energy is crucial right now,'' he stressed. "We've shown all year that we've been competitive and consistent and we've won a lot.

"Our preparation will give us our best chance to win knowing if we're not successful, it's the end of the road.''

WCHA Women's Notebook (Nov. 9, 2011)

Welcome to this week's installment of the WCHA Women's notebook. Each week Ross LaDue from the UW Athletic Communications office will break down the past weekend of action in the women's side of the WCHA and preview the coming weekend.

Three of the four series this past weekend resulted in sweeps as North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin all claimed two wins. Bemidji State was upset in overtime against Minnesota State, but the Beavers salvaged the weekend split. A couple players were missing as Team Canada called-up its team in order to prepare for the Four Nations Cup taking place in Sweden this weekend. Because of the international tournament, seven of the eight teams in the WCHA will remain idle this weekend. The only item on the docket is Bemidji State playing one game against Lindenwood on Thursday.


Weekend Recap

No. 7 North Dakota at St. Cloud State
No surprises in this series as the Sioux skated to two fairly easy victories. I expected St. Cloud State to net a couple of goals and they did just that, they even had a 1-1 game going for the majority of the first period on Friday. After UND scored to take a 1-0 lead, the Huskies answered back within 21 seconds to tie the game up. Unfortunately for St. Cloud State they wouldn't get any closer than that for the rest of the weekend. UND would win by scores of 6-2 and 5-1.

North Dakota notes: The line of Monique Lamoureux-Kolls, Jocelyne Lamoureux and Michelle Karvinen had another great weekend together. They accounted for five of the six goals on Friday, but only one of five on Saturday. Monique Weber and Allison Parizek were the only other two UND players to record multiple point games on the weekend. A total of seven players in addition to Lamoureux-Kolls, Lamouruex and Karivine tallied points for UND on the weekend as the Sioux are starting to show some depth in their lines. Stephanie Ney played in net on Friday making 22 stops, while Jorid Dagfinrud made her second start of the season on Saturday and made 19 saves.

St. Cloud State notes: Abby Ness, Molli Mott and Brittany Toor combined for two goals on the weekend, with Mott scoring Saturday's lone goal and Ness scoring the second SCSU goal on Friday. Tayler VanDenakker played both games in net for the Huskies and made a total of 65 saves in the 120 minutes of action.

No. 3 Minnesota at No. 4 Minnesota Duluth
I expected a close series between the two teams and after Minnesota took the first game, Minnesota Duluth nearly forced a split on Saturday. UMD jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Friday, but three-straight Minnesota goals would doom the Bulldogs as the Gophers scored an empty netter just seven seconds after UMD opted for an extra attacker to clinch a 4-1 win. Saturday saw Minnesota jump out to a 1-0 lead within the first minute and that would hurt the Bulldogs. A late rally by UMD fell short and the Gophers finished the sweep by a score of 3-2.

Minnesota notes: Amanda Kessel and Jen Schoullis had strong weekends for the Gophers. Kessel assisted on both game-winning goals, while Schoullis scored three of the seven goals on the weekend. Minnesota received offensive support from the blue line on Friday as both Anne Schleper and Megan Bozek had two assists, while Bozek also scored a goal. Goaltender Noora Räty posted her third sweep over a WCHA team this season, making 42 saves on 45 shots for a .933 save percentage.

Minnesota Duluth notes: The Bulldogs top three scorers, Audrey Cournoyer, Katherine Wilson and Jessica Wong were held to a combined one point on the weekend as Wong tallied one assist. Senior Haley Irwin was not in attendance for the series as Team Canada called-up its players to prepare for the Four Nations Cup. Top newcomer Jenna McParland was also kept off the score sheet in both games. Jenny Harss had a solid weekend in net, but the Gophers proved to be too tough and her 66 saves weren't enough for a Bulldog win.

No. 10 Bemidji State at Minnesota State
I knew Minnesota State would play Bemidji State well, but I wasn't expecting anything less than a sweep for Bemidji State. In their first-ever game with a national ranking, the Beavers faltered and dropped a decision in overtime to the Mavericks. Minnesota State out-shot Bemidji State, 31-21, in the upset and scored with 17 seconds remaining in overtime to pick up their fifth win of the season. Rebounding on Saturday, Bemidji State shut out the Mavericks, but the scoring woes continued as the Beavers only managed a 1-0 win.

Bemidji State notes: The Beavers were missing one of their top forwards in Emily Erickson due to an injury. Even with that in mind, Bemidji State lacked any scoring from their other top goal producers in Sadie Lundquist and Montana Vichorek. Mackenzie Thurston was the only BSU player to record multiple points on the weekend. While the scoring may have struggled, goaltending was not a problem as Zuzana Tomcikova made 52 saves on the weekend with a .963 save percentage.

Minnesota State notes: Ariel Mackley scored the OT-goal, while Kari Lundberg scored the first goal of the game on Friday. Alli Altmann played in net on Friday and recorded 20 saves for her fourth win of the season. Danielle Butters played in goal on Saturday and made a season-high 31 saves in the 1-0 loss.

No. 1 Wisconsin at Ohio State
The Buckeyes always seem to play the Badgers well at the OSU Ice Rink and this past weekend was no exception. While the Badgers did walk away with the weekend sweep, it was no cake walk. A combination of a high-pressure forecheck and the small ice surface seemed to bottle-neck Wisconsin at times. After UW opened the scoring on Friday night, OSU responded to make it 1-1. However that would be the last goal for the Buckeyes all weekend as the Badgers netted four consecutive goals to close out the weekend with 3-1 and 2-0 scores. Ohio State out-shot Wisconsin on Saturday, behind a third period rush of 16 shots on goal, but the Badgers remained unfazed and picked up their second win while being out-shot this season.

Wisconsin notes: Alex Rigsby was the Badgers' best player over the weekend as she shut down the Ohio State power play, killing off all eight OSU man advantages. Rigsby made 55 saves on 56 shots to post the best goaltending stats in the conference over the weekend. Newcomers Blayre Turnbull and Karley Sylvester both recorded goals on Friday, while Hilary Knight tallied the game-winner. On Saturday, Brooke Ammerman scored both goals in the 2-0 win.

Ohio State notes: Kayla Sullivan scored the lone goal on the weekend with Taylor Kuehl and Danielle Gagne recording the assists. Lisa Steffes made her third consecutive start and made 29 saves in the 3-1 loss on Friday. Chelsea Knapp made her first appearance in between the pipes since the North Dakota series on Dec. 21-22. Knapp played well and recorded 24 saves.


Possible WCHA Player of the Week winners (in order of likeliness):
This week's potential Offensive Player of the Week may be a bit of a tossup. Both Amanda Kessel and Jocelyne Lamoureux had great weekends as Minnesota and North Dakota swept their WCHA opponents. Kessel's performance stands out a bit more as she tallied assists on both game-winning goals against Minnesota Duluth. Lamoureux put up one more point than Kessel, though it was against a weaker St. Cloud State team. Brooke Ammerman also had a decent weekend, with a hand in both game-winning goals against Ohio State.

For Defensive Player of the Week it's hard to look past Alex Rigsby's performance at Ohio State, a total of 55 stops on 56 shots in a sweep over the Buckeyes. Minnesota's goaltender Noora Räty did well in net for the Gophers against Minnesota Duluth, making 42 saves on 45 shots. North Dakota's Candace Molle assisted on a game-winner against St. Cloud State. Bemidji State's goaltender Zuzana Tomcikvoa had another great performance in net for the Beavers, but Bemidji State being unable to pull off the sweep will hurt her chances.

Rookie of the Week looks to be going back to UND's Michelle Karvinen who led the Sioux in scoring against the Huskies. In a five-point night, she netted the game-winner on Friday. Wisconsin's Blayre Turnbull scored a shorthanded goal against the Buckeyes as the Badgers swept in Ohio. None of the newcomers at Minnesota put up any numbers this weekend. UMD's Brigette Lacquette had two points, but being swept by the Gophers may hurt her chances.

Offensive Player of the Week
Amanda Kessel (UM) - 5 points (1G, 4A), 2 game-winning assists vs UMD, 10 shots, +4 plus/minus
Jocelyne Lamoureux (UND) - 6 points (2G, 4A), two wins vs SCSU, seven shots, +4 plus/minus
Brooke Ammerman (UW) - 3 points  (2G, 1A), 1 game-winning goal and assist vs OSU, 8 shots, +2 plus/minus

Defensive Player of the Week
Alex Rigsby (UW) - 55 saves, 1 goal against, .982 save percentage, 2 wins vs OSU, 1 shutout
Noora Räty (UM) - 42 saves, 3 goals against, .933 save percentage, 2 wins vs UMD
Candace Molle (UND) - 2 points (1G, 1A), 1 game-winning assist, 2 wins vs SCSU, 4 shots, +3 plus/minus
Zuzana Tomcikova (BSU) - 52 saves, 2 goals against, .963 save percentage, 1 win vs MSU, 1 shutout

Rookie of the Week
Michelle Karvinen (UND) - 6 points (2G, 4A), 1 game-winning goal, 2 wins vs SCSU, 7 shots, +4 plus/minus
Blayre Turnbull (UW) - 1 point (1G, 0A), 1 short-handed goal, 2 wins vs OSU, 2 shots, +1 plus/minus
Brigette Lacquette (UMD) - 2 points (1G, 1A), 4 shots, even plus/minus


Looking Forward

Lindenwood vs Bemidji State (at Eveleth, Minn., Nov. 10)
This will be a single-game match up instead of a normal two-game series and it will be played in Eveleth, Minn., at the Hippodrome. Even with this game being away from the comfy confines of the Sanford Center, the Beavers should skate to an easy victory. Excluding a close 4-3 loss to Minnesota State, Lindenwood has lost to DI opponents this season by a combined score of 85-9. The struggling team from St. Charles, Mo., will surely get better, but I don't see them beating any of their DI opponents this season.

Minnesota State at No. 7 North Dakota (Nov. 18-19)
The Sioux finally return to Ralph Engelstad Arena after almost a month without a home game. North Dakota has put up some blistering numbers on the scoreboard while at home and the series against Minnesota State may be another opportunity for the Sioux to keep on lighting lamp. The Minnesota State goaltending corps is playing well now, but it may be a different story in two weeks. North Dakota should come away with both wins.

Bemidji State at No. 6 Minnesota Duluth (Nov. 19-20)
The Bulldogs are 1-4-1-1 to start off conference action, and I'm not entirely sure, but this could be one of their worst starts in the WCHA. It's not a reflection of the quality of the UMD squad by any means, as the four losses have come against Wisconsin and Minnesota. However, returning home and gaining Haley Irwin back from the Four Nations Cup, Minnesota Duluth will be a very difficult team to beat. If Bemidji State has forward Emily Erickson back from her injury and if the Beavers can play a full 60 minutes of hockey, then they may be able to pull out a win. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see Minnesota Duluth improve to 3-4-1-1 with these games being in Duluth, Minn.

Ohio State at Syracuse (Nov. 18-19)
Syracuse had a great season last year, losing to CHA powerhouse Mercyhurst by one goal in the CHA tournament championship game. However, Syracuse looks a lot weaker this year. Ohio State will have forward Natalie Spooner back and the Buckeyes will be looking to reheat their cold offense they've had lately. The Buckeyes should sweep this series and potentially in high scoring fashion.

St. Cloud State at Niagara (Nov. 18-19)
If these games were in St. Cloud, Minn., I would call for a Husky sweep. However, having to travel all the way to upstate New York may hinder St. Cloud State. This is the last nonconference series for the Huskies and it may be the last chance for them to get a sweep. With this in mind, the games should be fairly close, one or two-goal games. I think the Huskies win at least one, and if they stay focused, they can win both.

New Hampshire at No. 3 Minnesota (Nov. 18-19)
This will be a weekend sweep for the Gophers at home. There's a good possibility that Noora Räty and the Minnesota defense will not allow a single goal on the weekend.

No. 1 Wisconsin at Rensselaer (Nov. 18-19)
The series will serve as the third and fourth meetings between the two teams and the first visit for Wisconsin to Rensselaer. The Badgers will have Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker and Stefanie McKeough back from Four Nations. The Engineers have been struggling this year and for the Badgers to win all they need to do is to continue to play their style of hockey. The biggest challenge for Wisconsin will be staying away from complacency as it heads into the weekend series and not look past RPI.  

ON WISCONSIN