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Wisconsin women's hockey: Badgers sweep St. Cloud State

Brittany Ammerman scores a breakaway goal Saturday in St. Cloud.
Brittany Ammerman scores a breakaway goal Saturday in St. Cloud.
Nicole Haase

The Wisconsin Badgers swept the St. Cloud State Huskies on Saturday on the shoulders of redshirt senior Brittany Ammerman's five-point weekend. At publication, she was leading the WCHA and tied for second in the country with 22 points. She's tied for second in the WCHA in both goals (10) and assists (12).

The five points also give her 123 career points, good for 14th on the all-time Badger scoring list, passing Mallory Deluce.

After tallying a goal and two assists on Friday, Ammerman opened the scoring on Saturday with a breakaway goal in the second period off a beauty of a feed from senior Katy Josephs.

The Huskies built on the momentum they found late in the third period on Friday, but couldn't sustain anything on offense. They did find a way to keep the Badgers in check, holding them to just three goals on 44 shots on goal.

Sophomore Sydney McKibbon made it a two-goal game shortly after Ammerman opened the scoring when she cleaned up a loose puck to the right of the net and put it top shelf on a tough angle. Josephs and sophomore Mellissa Channell assisted on the goal. Coach Mark Johnson called it "almost an impossible angle."

It was quiet for much of the rest of the game until senior captain Blayre Turnbull one-timed home a pass from sophomore Jenny Ryan. Ammerman made the play happen by getting free on the boards and hitting  Ryan with a crisp pass down in the slot on the right had side and she one-timed it across the crease to Turnbull, who put it in the back of the net.

Ammerman's take on the goal: "I just walked up the wall and saw that Jenny was coming down, but the drop pass to her was taken, so I kind of felt the girl on my outside hip and did a little spin-a-rama type thing and Jenny kept going to the net and she’s really good at finding that back door and I passed it right to her."

For Johnson, though not the blowout of last weekend, he was happy with how his team played in St. Cloud.

"We capitalized on some opportunities and had some good offensive zone pressure and found ways to get a couple of pucks in," he said.

The win extended Wisconsin's road unbeaten streak to 22 games and their win streak against St. Cloud State to 22 games.

katy josephs at st cloud

The shutout was the Badgers' sixth of the season and it was sophomore goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens' fourth.

For her part, Desbiens said it was the defense who deserves the credit for blanking the Huskies.

"I think just defensively our team just did a great job to keep them out of the zone and didn’t have much of a scoring chance. I just try to keep my game simple and the team did well in front of me," she said.

Wisconsin heads out east to face New Hampshire next Friday and Saturday, an opponent they haven't played since 2012.

For Ammerman, the weekend brings the opportunity to see family, something the players from the east and Canada are looking forward to. It also brings a bigger ice sheet, something that plays to the speed and fitness strengths of this Badger squad.

The ice sheet at St. Cloud was also larger than LaBahn, so Johnson mentioned this weekend's series as a good warm up. He said the team will practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the Kohl Center to help the Badgers get used to the larger size. But it's not the ice sheet he's worried about - in New Hampshire, the team benches are on opposite sides of the ice. The Badgers will be figuring out a way to ensure second period line changes are smooth and they don't get caught on odd-man rushes.