Feb. 27, 2014
• Wisconsin Notes | Minnesota State Notes
MANKATO, Minn. -- After securing a second-place finish in the WCHA with a sweep of Minnesota State last weekend, the No. 2 Wisconsin women’s hockey team will skate against the Mavericks again this weekend at LaBahn Arena in the opening round of the WCHA playoffs.
The best-of-three series begins with a 7 p.m. tilt Friday and continues on Saturday with another 7 p.m. contest. If a third game is necessary, it will be played at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
With the WIAA Individual State Wrestling Tournament going on simultaneously, a limited amount of event parking will be available for purchase for $8 in lots 91, 46, 29 and 83. Lots 87 and 48 will also be available to patrons with accessible needs. There is also free parking in lots 33, 44 and 45. View this map to learn more about parking this weekend. Should there be a third game on Sunday, March 2, parking will be free in lot 91.
The Badgers and Mavericks are familiar foes, having faced each other every year during Wisconsin’s fourteen-year program history. In that time, UW has marked a 60-1-3 all-time record against MSU, recording its only loss to the WCHA-opponent on Feb. 12, 2010.
Wisconsin has claimed victory in all four of its post-season contests again Minnesota State, and has also won all four of the meetings between the teams this season.
“The challenge becomes they’ll have an opportunity to make some adjustments after they look at the two games that we just played them,” UW head coach Mark Johnson said. “Certainly you hear a lot of coaches talk about, when you have to play a team three or four times in a row, those are the hurdles you have to try to climb over. So we’ll spend this week working on some things to improve some areas that will help us be successful this weekend, and then it comes down to the players going out and playing the way they’ve played all season.”
The Badgers opened their 2013-14 schedule with a road series against the Mavericks. Redshirt junior Brittany Ammerman began the season with a bang, earning three goals and an assist on the weekend. Juniors Karley Sylvester and Blayre Turnbull and senior Madison Packer also tallied goals in the first series against the Mavericks, while freshmen Sydney McKibbon and Sarah Nurse recorded their first collegiate goals in the pair of UW triumphs.
Senior Alex Rigsby made 25 saves in the season-opener to mark her first shutout of the season before stopping 28 MSU shots to propel the Badgers to their first series sweep of the season.
Wisconsin also closed its regular season schedule against Minnesota State last weekend, sweeping the Mavericks on the road with a 5-1 victory Friday night and a 3-1 triumph Saturday afternoon.
In Friday’s contest, first-period goals by Ammerman and sophomore Rachel Jones gave the Badgers an early 2-0 lead heading into the middle frame. MSU cut UW’s lead in half during the second period, but Packer retaliated by lighting the lamp in the heart of the final stanza to record her 100th career point as a Badger. The senior is the 18th player in school history to achieve the 100-point mark.
Turnbull also broke records in the tilt, tallying two short-handed goals in the final eight minutes of the game to set a new school record for most short-handed goals in one season with five. The Badgers outshot the Mavericks 50-21 in the winning effort.
Wisconsin showed similar domination in the series conclusion Saturday, as freshman netminder Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 27 shots while Burke, McKibbon and Sowchuck each found the back of the net to complete the series sweep of the Mavericks with a 3-1 win.
The winner of this weekend’s series will skate in the WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF on March 7-8 in Bemidji, Minn.
“A week from Saturday, somebody’s going to be hoisting the trophy and taking pictures on the ice up in Bemidji, and that’s the goal,” Johnson said. “That’s what we’ll push forward today in our meeting, and that’s what we’ll eye the target in regards to the next couple days of practice as we prepare for Mankato on Friday night.”