MADISON, Wis. - The second-ranked Wisconsin women's hockey team completed a statement sweep of No. 1 Minnesota with a 6-3 win on Saturday afternoon at LaBahn Arena.
For the second-straight season, the Badgers (6-2-0, 6-2-0-1 WCHA) earned a series sweep over the Golden Gophers (8-3-0, 8-3-0-0 WCHA) in Madison. Wisconsin improved to 8-3-1 against Minnesota in the last 12 meetings between the two rivals.
Brette Pettet and Daryl Watts each scored two goals for UW, while Lacey Eden and Britta Curl also found the back of the net for the Badgers.
Wisconsin was first on the board Saturday, as Pettet set the tone early with a goal four minutes into the game. In only her third day with the program, Eden netted her first collegiate goal for Wisconsin scoring with four minutes remaining in the period to give UW a 2-0 lead.
Minnesota would respond on the power play late in the first period, however, making it a 2-1 game through 20 minutes of play.
After Minnesota evened the score up at 2-2 early in the second period, Curl tallied her second goal of the weekend to push UW back in front with a 3-2 lead. The Gophers responded quickly - just 41 seconds later - typing the game back up at 3-3 with a wraparound shot.
Despite being outshot, 10-9, in the third period, the Badgers scored three unanswered goals to take control of the Border Battle. Watts scored three minutes into the period to give UW a 4-3 lead before Pettet scored two minutes later to extend UW's advantage to two goals. Watts sealed the win with her team-leading seventh goal of the year - an empty-net effort - in the final minute of play.
Three Notes of the Game
- Wisconsin scored 11 goals against Minnesota this weekend, marking the most scored in the series by UW in school history. The previous best was 10 goals, which the Badgers tallied against the Gophers back on Nov. 5-6, 2010.
- Wisconsin swept a No. 1 ranked team for the first time since doing so against the University of Minnesota-Duluth back on Jan. 6-7, 2002.
- Wisconsin improved to 14-5-3 against Minnesota since the start of the 2016-17 season.
Straight from the Rink
Head Coach Mark Johnson
On what kind of message the win sent:
"This is a goofy game. If you score goals, it creates energy. If you score first, it helps settle your team down. Today was a good hockey game, a good women's college hockey game where we got up two to nothing and they came out and scored a really nice power-play goal and I mean it goes back and forth. It sends a message to me of what we are capable of doing, but more importantly, it shows the players what they're capable of doing."
On going into the third period tied:
"I told the group going into the third period, it's a 20 minute game. Who's going to dig down, who's going to make a play, who's going to want it a little bit more? We came out and were able to capitalize on a couple things and did what we needed to do to finish it off."
Senior forward Brette Pettet
On entering the third period:
"I think the big thing for us was just to make sure we kept going hard in the third period. Minnesota is a great team so that's a chase either to kind of come out and win it strong or let them back into the game. I think we did a good job competing for all 60 minutes today which was huge."
On how last weekend's loss and drop in ranking played into this weekend:
"I think (last weekend) kind of gave us a little bit of a tap on our shoulder to get going. I think as much as it sucked to lose, it was good for us and we kind of took that as fuel for this weekend, just to keep in mind that we can't take any minutes off and it worked out this weekend for us."
Senior forward Daryl Watts
On the team's speed:
"We're a really fast team in practice. Mark is really big on moving your feet and using your speed. Our strength trainer, he's big on speed as well. It's just one of the key parts of our game, so to be able to transition quickly, utilize our speed to beat defenders and enter the zone with speed and then create scoring opportunities, that's a big thing that our coaches want us to do and this weekend I think we executed that really well."
The Badgers head to St. Cloud State on January 22 and 23. Friday puck drop is set for 3 p.m. and Saturday will start at 2 p.m. Both games can be seen live on FloHockey.