Badgers sweep Huskies

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first_imgGREGORY DIXON/Herald photoWith their 4-0 defeat of St. Cloud State on Saturday, the Wisconsin women?s hockey team built themselves an eight-game winning streak to start off the New Year.After getting swept in heartbreaking fashion by the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in late November, the Badgers haven?t dropped a game in close to two months, sweeping North Dakota, Minnesota State, Ohio State and now St. Cloud State to push their record to 18-6-2.With the top three teams in the WCHA all garnering sweeps this weekend, UW was unable to pick up any further ground on UMD and Minnesota, who are first and second in the conference, respectively.In Saturday?s game, which set a new NCAA record for attendance with 5,377 fans filling the lower bowl of the Kohl Center, the Badgers played brilliantly in front of the large crowd, downing St. Cloud 4-0. As was the case last year when UW and Harvard played in front of the then-record-sized crowd at the Kohl Center, senior Jinelle Zaugg stepped up, scoring two goals in the decisive win. Against Harvard last year, it was Zaugg?s overtime goal that sealed the win for the Badgers. Hillary Knight and Mallory Deluce also netted goals for Wisconsin.With the shutout, junior goaltender Jesse Vetter now has nine shutouts on the season, on pace to break her own mark of 15 from last season. She stopped all 18 shots she faced Saturday and made 22 saves Friday.But while the defense seems never to be as much of an issue for the Badgers, the offense?s struggles before the break were causing a lot of problems for the momentum of a team not used to having trouble lighting the lamp.?We had been getting our scoring opportunities, but now the puck is actually going in,? UW head coach Mark Johnson said following Friday?s game. ?It makes a huge difference when you can get the three, four, five goals. I?d say one of the biggest reasons we?ve been more successful the past eight games or so is because the team has been scoring much more than it did earlier in the season.?For a team that isn?t used to playing with a deficit, having their high-powered offense back in full swing certainly has helped the overall mentality of the team.Gaining an early lead eight seconds into the game also helped the offense, as was the case Friday when sophomore forward Jasmine Giles notched her goal faster than anyone in Wisconsin women?s hockey history, breaking a record of 11 seconds set by former Badger Lindsay Macy.After being away from the Kohl Center for close to two months, scoring early was going to be a top priority for the Badgers now that they have a series at home with North Dakota coming up this weekend.?[Giles? goal] is a great way to start a hockey game,? Johnson said. ?If we can patent that start for every game, we?ll take it.?Wisconsin was able to use that momentum to get on the board quickly again in the second period with a Mallory Deluce goal. Senior Jinelle Zaugg continued her recent hot streak by adding her own goal shortly after, with freshman Kelly Nash capping off the game with a wrist shot that singed the top of the net.Next weekend the Badgers are home for a series against the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota and will look to gain on the one-game difference in conference standing between themselves and Minnesota.last_img

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