Badgers capture season opener

first_imgBRYAN FAUST/Herald photoThe UW Women’s Hockey team began defending their national title this weekend with a season-opening sweep over non-conference opponent Quinnipiac. With a 3-0 win Friday and a 5-1 victory Saturday, the No. 1 ranked Badgers started the season 2-0. Despite a slow start, Wisconsin upended the Bobcats 5-1 Saturday on the strength of a three goal second period that featured 22 Badger shots on goal.Quinnipiac, who finished last season with an abysmal 10-18-6 record, managed to end the first period with a 1-1 tie Saturday, and it took an outstanding save by Badger goalie Christine DuFour on a Bobcat breakaway to keep the visitors from taking the lead and momentum.”There was a lot of special teams play in that first period, and we couldn’t capitalize on our chances,” Badger head coach Mark Johnson said.The Badgers finally got it together when Sarah Bauer weaved her way through the Bobcat defense and beat goalie Laura Brennan with a backhand shot to give the Badgers a 2-1 lead. The goal ignited the Badger offense, which would score twice more in the period to put the Bobcats away.”In the second period we started to compete more than we did in the first period,” Johnson said, “We started to find a flow, and a rhythm, and that’s when we really took control of the game.”We were in a bit of a funk in the first period, but to get going in the second was big for us,” Bauer said. Bauer’s goal was the first of the season for the reigning WCHA and national player of the year.Wisconsin, who also struggled in the first period of their season opening game on Friday, will need to avoid these slow starts when conference play gets underway and they start to face more challenging opponents.”[The team] showed what they’re capable of doing, now they have to do it consistently, instead of playing one period here and there we need to play three periods consistently,” Johnson said. St. Cloud State will come to the Kohl Center next weekend as the Badgers begin conference play in a series that Johnson believes will be a “dogfight.”Friday, Wisconsin opened the season with a 3-0 victory over Quinnipiac on a night that commemorated last season’s title with a pre-game highlight video and banner ceremony.Goaltender Jessie Vetter extended her shutout streak to 260 minutes, and Jinelle Zaugg had a goal and an assist in the opener.Though they didn’t come out with their best hockey, the Badgers were able to rely on Vetter to keep them in the game until they could find their offense.”I’m definitely in a rhythm right now,” Vetter said, playing in her first game since being named the Most Outstanding Player of last year’s Frozen Four. Her shutout stretch was put in jeopardy late in the game, but Vetter made an acrobatic save to prevent a meaningless Bobcat goal with only a couple of minutes to play. The sophomore goalie didn’t seem too concerned with her streak though. “I don’t think about the streak, all I think about is getting a win,” Vetter said.Though they only managed 18 shots, the Badgers were able to score three goals, enough to beat the Bobcats.Captain Bobbi Jo Slusar scored the first goal of the season for the Badgers, firing a laser past Bobcat goalie Laura Brennan on a first period power play. “We know this season will be important,” Slusar said, “it was good to start it off with a win tonight.”On a night when last year’s team was honored, newcomers to the squad also got a chance to show that they’re ready to contribute to the team and their play didn’t go unnoticed.”They’ll all have to contribute,” Johnson said, referring to this year’s freshmen.”Our freshmen looked great, they’ll be a big part of our team this season,” Slusar said.Freshman Kayla Sanders scored the first goal of her career early in the third period and other freshmen Jasmine Giles, Meghan Duggan and Emily Kranz contributed in the winning effort.”It was exciting,” Sanders said on scoring her first goal, “it was a great rush.”last_img