Badgers overcome early struggles to rout Mavericks

A ping-pong goal gave Minnesota State (7-15-3 overall, 2-12-3 WCHA) a second-period lead but seemed to snap No. 7 Wisconsin out of its lethargy as the Badgers (13-6-5, 6-5-4) answered with six straight goals to cruise to a 6-1 win at the Midwest Wireless Civic Center.

“It was a wakeup call,” Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson said of falling behind. “We had certainly been lethargic in the first period and didn’t seem to have a lot of energy and enthusiasm.”

MSU’s goal came on the power play three minutes, 21 seconds into the second when Melanie Salatino fed Amber Sharratt at the top of the left circle. Her shot deflected off Wisconsin’s Karen Rickard in the slot and off the shin pad of Maverick forward Lindsay McCulloch.

It would take the Badgers another seven minutes before finally getting on the scoreboard but, once they found the back of the net, the momentum never swung back in MSU’s favor.

“After we scored the goal, they turned it up,” Maverick head coach Jeff Vizenor said. “We didn’t match the offensive intensity they had with our defensive capabilities.”

Wisconsin finally got on the scoreboard at 10:28 of the second period. Kathy Devereaux’s shot from the left circle hit the right post, but Jackie Friesen was there to convert the rebound for her third goal of the season.

The goal set the tempo for the Badgers, who scored four straight off rebounds.

“We’ve tried to have that theme and have been pretty consistent with it,” Johnson said. “We’re not going to score tic-tac-toe goals. It’s going to be on rebounds or tip-ins, by going to the net, that we score most of our goals.”

The first of Kendra Antony’s two goals came less than two minutes after Friesen’s goal. The eventual game winner came after Antony’s shot from the right faceoff spot was stopped by MSU goalie Katie Beauduy, but Antony stormed the net and converted her own rebound.

Her second goal came at 4:42 of the third period, when she crashed the net from the right side once again, this time knocking in a Sharon Cole rebound.

Grace Hutchins made it 4-2 when she scored from the bottom of the left circle at 5:50. She knocked home a rebound that hit traffic in front.

Defensemen Sis Paulsen and Kerry Weiland both scored goals in the middle of the period on slapshots through traffic, with the latter goal, a power-play tally, coming with 9:09 to play.

“The way we played was not how we are capable of playing,” Antony said of her team’s early struggles. “Once they scored on us, it really got us going.”

The six-goal outburst was the Badgers’ best offensive showing since a 6-0 win at Connecticut, Oct. 19. They outshot the Mavericks 47-9, including 21-4 in the second period and 39-7 over the final 40 minutes.

Beauduy had 41 saves for Minnesota State while Jackie MacMillan stopped five shots before being replaced by Meghan Horras, making her collegiate debut, with 7:05 to play in the game. She stopped three shots, including a breakaway by Salatino with 44.3 seconds left.

The teams conclude their series Saturday, beginning at 2:35 p.m. CST.