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Women’s hockey buries Lindenwood in opening series

first_imgIn their first series since winning the national championship in March, the Badgers swept the Lady Lions with 24 goals and no reply over the weekend at the Kohl Center.[/media-credit]Scoring 24 goals in the first series of the season is nothing to complain about.Extending its unbeaten streak from last season with a 13-0 win over the Lindenwood Lady Lions, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team has gone 29 games without a loss.Nearly every Badger scored on the weekend, as all four freshmen found the back of the net. The only goalless Badger was sophomore Natalie Berg, who had four assists.“It was really good,” said freshman defenseman Katarina Zgraja, who scored her first career goal Friday. “After you get your first goal, you’re more comfortable with the puck and you just feel good.”Wisconsin held advantages in experience, talent and overall conditioning over Lindenwood, and senior forward Hilary Knight’s second goal of the game epitomized the series.Twenty seconds after her first goal, Knight took the puck up the ice following the faceoff. She flipped the puck over the last defender and shot it past Lindewood’s goaltender, Taylor Fairchild, putting the Badgers up 2-0.“I always practice lifting it up and knocking it down and try to be a little creative – add a little spice to what we’re doing,” Knight said. “I like to have fun, and fortunately, that time it worked out.”Knight and junior forward Brianna Decker each finished the day with a hat trick, while senior forward Brooke Ammerman and freshman forward Katy Josephs scored two goals apiece.Head coach Mark Johnson was pleased to see contributions from most of his team so early in the season.“Everybody got their feet wet, everybody had a lot of ice time and it’s nice to see everybody make a contribution,” Johnson said. “It’s good. If I’m a freshman, I got to play a lot, I made a contribution, so those jitters that maybe young kids have hopefully may be eased a little bit.”In the drubbing, Wisconsin outshot Lindenwood 72-3. For the weekend, the Badgers put 132 shots on goal to Lindenwood’s 14.Both sophomore goaltender Alex Rigsby and junior Nikki Kaasa saw time in net this weekend. Both games, Kaasa relieved Rigsby in the third period, facing about as many shots as Rigsby had in the previous periods.“Yeah, my dad made a comment after the game on Friday, ‘Not a lot changed as you went out on the ice in the third period,’” Kaasa said. “My defense, everybody played great this weekend, especially with us being short on players, definitely a good week to get our feet wet.”Friday night’s season opener could not have set the tone for the weekend in a better way.After watching a 2010-11 season recap video and finally dropping their national championship banner, the season opener was undeniably emotional for the Badgers. Nevertheless, UW was able to stay focused in skating to an 11-0 shutout win.“[Knight] and I both looked at each other after the banner dropped and we said we got the chills,” Decker said. “We know it’s the start of a new season and we just have to be ready to go.”The game began slowly. Both teams had only practiced for about a week with their coaches, so things weren’t expected to click instantly.Following a one-goal first period, the Badgers didn’t look back in scoring 10 goals throughout the remaining 40 minutes. Not only did Wisconsin dominate Lindenwood in its first Division I game, it absolutely trounced the newcomer, out-shooting them 60-11.With a short bench, the large majority of UW’s roster saw plenty of ice time. Specifically, the freshmen proved they can keep up with their defending national champion teammates.On the Badgers’ fifth goal of the night, freshman forward Blayre Turnbull sent the puck through the crease to waiting freshman forward Karley Sylvester who sent it into the net.“It means a lot,” Sylvester said of the goal. “In the beginning, I was super nervous – all of us freshman were. After the first shift, we got it out. Scoring in my first game, that’s pretty exciting.”“I think we’ve got a really good group of freshman girls coming in,” sophomore defenseman Kelly Jaminski added. “Even tonight it showed. They work hard, so I think that’s exciting. That’ll be good because it helps our season keep going hard.”As the most experienced Badger blue liner, Jaminski led UW’s defense while senior Brittany Haverstock and juniors Stefanie McKeough and Saige Pacholock are skating with the Canada National Team for the weekend. Junior Alev Kelter is also playing with the Wisconsin women’s soccer team.The sophomore scored her first two career goals as a Badger Friday night – both from the blue line – and also notched three assists on the night.“New people stepped up today and it was really exciting to see that,” Decker said. “Our depth is as strong as it was last season and that’s what is going to be a big threat for us.”last_img read more