For the second game in a row, No. 7 Wisconsin (14-6-5 overall, 7-5-4 WCHA) needed a wakeup call.
For the second game in a row, the Badgers got it in the form of a Minnesota State (7-16-3, 2-13-3) goal.
The Mavericks scored eight minutes, 37 seconds into the period and the Badgers, who didn’t get on the board until seven seconds remained in the opening frame, picked their game up from there to earn a 3-1 victory at the Midwest Wireless Civic Center.
Katie Hainrich got the game’s first goal when Wisconsin goalie Jackie MacMillan stopped her point-blank shot. Hainrich got a second chance when Melanie Salatino picked up the rebound and got it back to Hainrich, who deposited her sixth goal of the season.
Although the Badgers picked up the pace of their game after the goal, they didn’t get on the board until Kerry Weiland deflected a shot from midair past MSU goalie Shari Vogt, on the power play, with just seven seconds to play in the first period.
Two goals just 1:09 apart in the second period sealed the game for Wisconsin.
The Badgers went ahead 2-1 when Meghan Hunter skated in on Vogt from the right faceoff circle, deked her to the ice and pulled the puck back to her forehand, tucking it behind the MSU netminder for her sixth tally of the season.
The Mavericks’ Nicole Magnuson then took a roughing penalty in front of her own net 27 seconds later and Wisconsin capitalized on the second of three power plays. She took a pass in the left circle from Molly Engstrom, stationed at the top of the right circle, and snapped off her 12th goal of the season.
Wisconsin held a narrow edge in shots on goal with a 22-21 advantage. MacMillan made 20 saves for the win while Vogt had 19 stops in a losing cause.
Wisconsin, which has now reached the .500 mark in league play for the first time this season, takes on Bemidji State, Feb. 8-9, in Madison. The Mavericks host Findlay, Feb. 7-8, in a pair of non-conference games.