Seventh-ranked Wisconsin used a seven-goal second period, scoring more goals in 20 minutes than they had in any single game this season, to rout St. Cloud State 9-2 at the National Hockey Center.
Although the game would eventually turn into a laugher for the Badgers, it didn’t start out that way.
The Huskies appeared to get on the board first when Erin McNamara, in the lineup only after a game disqualification she had received Friday was changed to a game misconduct, scored on a short-handeded breakaway just four minutes, 11 seconds into the game.
The goal, however, was disallowed as SCSU defenseman Kobi Kawamoto was whistled for interference as she held up a Wisconsin player who was backchecking on the play.
The play would turn the teams’ fortunes 180 degrees as the Badgers got on the board, one second after the first Husky penalty expired, when Molly Engstrom rifled a snap shot from the right circle into upper right corner to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead.
It then took Wisconsin just 18 seconds to go up 2-0 as Steph Millar forced a turnover in the right circle and carried the puck across the slot. With no shot available to her, Millar dropped the puck behind her, where Steph Boeckmann flipped the loose puck over a prone Laura Gieselmann for her second tally of the season.
Following Friday’s 3-2 loss to Wisconsin, coupled with Ohio State’s 2-1 overtime win over Minnesota State, the Huskies playoff hopes were officially ended Friday night and SCSU head coach Jason Lesteberg acknowledged that fact Saturday.
“We played today, like a team that was elminated from the playoffs after yesterday’s loss,” he said. “When the goal was disallowed, and then they scored on the power play, it took the air right out of us.”
The second period opened with Nicole Uliasz setting up Sharon Cole for a tip-in goal at 3:02 before scoring herself four minutes late, giving Wisconsin a 4-0 lead and bringing on a goalie change for the Huskies as Brie Anderson replaced Gieselmann.
Anderson fared little better as Carla MacLeod ripped a shot from the left circle over her glove less than three minutes after entering the game. Both MacLeod and Uliasz would get their second goals of the game before the period was out and Meghan Hunter notched her sixth of the season to give Wisconsin a 9-0 lead.
Both teams changed goalies to start the third period as Gieselmann returned for final period while Meghan Horras made her second, and longest, appearance of the season.
As they did Friday, the Huskies outscored Wisconsin 2-0 in the final period but, in this game, despite a 25-5 adantage in shots on goal during the final 20 minutes, it was too little too late.
Horras made several key saves early in the period during a flurry as St. Cloud State opened the period on the power play but Roxy Stang scored through traffic 1:27 into final frame to avert the shutout.
The Huskies got their fifth and final power-play chance of the game with 1:22 to play following a roughing penalty by Nikki Burish. Tina Ciraulo got the game’s final goal with just five seconds remaining when she beat Horras from the right faceoff circle.
Wisconsin outshot it’s hosts 29-9 through two periods before the Huskies piled up their highest single-period shot total of the season in the third period to even the game total at 34-34. MacMillan had nine saves through two periods while Horras stopped 23 of 25 shots in the final period. Gieselman finished with 20 saves while giving up four goals. Anderson allowed five goals on 10 shots.
The Badgers (18-6-5 overall, 11-5-4 WCHA) travel to Ohio State next weekend for a pair of WCHA games while St. Cloud State (9-21-0, 4-18-0) is on the road for its final non-conference action of the season, travelling to Detroit, Mich., to face Wayne State.