MADISON, Wis. -- The No. 2 Wisconsin women's hockey team fought through some early adversity to open the season with a 3-2 victory Friday night at LaBahn Arena.
After Lindenwood (0-1-0) went up 1-0 a breakaway, Wisconsin (1-0-0) freshman Sophie Shirley found the net to make it a 1-1 split with 51 seconds to go in the period. Shirley's goal was not only UW's first of the season, but the freshman's first-ever collegiate goal.
In the second period, the Badgers fell down 2-1 due to an empty-net mishap, but Wisconsin responded again. Sophomore Delaney Drake's clutch put-back goal at the 5:59 mark tied the game back up at two apiece, putting the Badgers back in the driver's seat.
Wisconsin rode the momentum swing the rest of the way, getting a missile of a shot from fifth-year senior Emily Clark that gave the Badgers a 3-2 lead with 9:45 left in the second.
Clark's goal was her 21st career game winner and proved to be the dagger on the night, as Wisconsin preserved their lead for the first win of the season. The Olympian is now tied for fourth in school history in game-winning goals with Brooke Ammerman.
Three notes of the game
- Wisconsin outshot Lindenwood 46-8 and outshot the Lions 34-5 during the first two periods of the game.
- The Badgers improved to 14-0-0 all-time against the Lions, outscoring LU 84-11.
- UW extended its home-unbeaten streak to 30 games and have now won its last six home openers at LaBahn Arena.
Play of the game
At the 5:58 mark of the second period, Drake's rebound goal not only tied the game up for Badgers, but swung the momentum back UW's way. It marked Drake's second goal in the last four games as the sophomore scored in the WCHA Final Faceoff against Minnesota.
Straight from the Rink
UW head coach Mark Johnson
On his overall thoughts of the game:
"I think as I reflect on the game, you can't get things in practice like you can get them in a game. It being our first game, and only being together for a short time, it was a good test. As I told the team after the game, now it's our job to get better tomorrow and then make improvements as we go through this season. We were at the starting gate, the horn went off, and off we're running."
On the sharpness of play:
"It's not a finished product by any means. In practice, it looks like one thing but when you get an opponent, and an opponent that's ready to compete with a goaltender that's playing well for them, that can be intimidating coming into it. For the first game, there are a lot of things you can build off of and show the team to make improvements so that's the most important part. Coming away with a win certainly helps."
"There were little things that were good, and then there were other things that we just have to get better at. That's going to come with some more competition and some more practices."
"The goal in the early part of the schedule is to try and find the right chemistry. You start with lines. Some pieces looked pretty good out there, and some other pieces you might have to turn some things as we go along. For the first game we just talked about competing and trying to make that first step to taking shape."
Senior forward Emily Clark
On the game:
"Hats off to Lindenwood, they gave us a really good game and, like Coach said, it's good that we got challenged like that early in the season, and to be put into situations where we're down.
On returning to UW:
"I think that might've been one of the most nervous that I felt, it was a weird energy. So it was definitely a special game and I was definitely just anxious to get back out there and get back to normal."
Freshman forward Sophie Shirley
On scoring her first goal:
"That felt really nice. Obviously a really nice pass from Abby there, and it was kind of a whole line effort, so it was really nice to get the first one out of the way."
On her line:
"Yeah a little bit we've been able to practice a couple times together, so I think getting the first game out of the way and kind of getting a feel for each other was really nice to be able to do that and to go into tomorrow's game with a little more confidence."
The Badgers wrap up their season-opening series on Saturday with a 2 p.m. contest against Lindenwood.