MADISON -- The Badgers continue to set new records as they continue their winning ways. Thirteen games into the season, the Badgers have a clean sheet.
On Friday afternoon, they dispatched the Lindenwood Lions 5-1 on the heels of two goals from sophomore Emily Clark. Lindenwood, in it's fifth season as an NCAA Division 1 school, has made incredibly strides, and Wisconsin was one of the first teams to put the Lions on their schedule.
"They're one of our closest opponents outside of our league, so it’s an opportunity to help them with the resources that they have, and it certainly helps us because for us to go down there it’s much less expensive than it is to take some other road trips," said Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson. "It’s been a good relationship, and we’ve certainly seen strides in their game. Their goaltender is as good as anybody in the country,"
Wisconsin has beaten Lindenwood by at least four goals in every one of the meetings. The Badgers have been unbeated in 40 games against opponents outside the WCHA. The streak goes back more than 2,200 days to 2009.
It was career win No. 49 for junior goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens, moving her into fourth in program history for career wins.
The Badgers came out firing to start the game, putting 28 shots on Lindenwood senior goalie Nicole Hensley. Hensley had a stellar game, making several highlight reel saves.
Freshman Sophia Shaver scored her fourth goal of the season on a great feed from junior Sarah Nurse. Nurse had the puck along the boards behind the net and dropped the pass behind her to the front of the net. The puck was deflected to Shaver, who buried it in a wide open back-door.
Early in the second, senior Courtney Burke, who's second in the nation among defenseman with 1.15 points per game, gathered the puck at the blue line and skated in on the left side before rocketing a shot on Hensley. The rebound came through traffic and senior Molly Doner went down on one knee to bury it to make it 2-0 Wisconsin.
Sophomore Emily Clark made it a three goal advantage just 46 seconds later when she was able to put away a rebound from sophomore Baylee Wellhausen.
Lindenwood responded with a goal from a near impossible angle that slotted over Desbiens' shoulder, but Clark scored her second of the day just before the period break.
Sophomore Annie Pankowski extended her scoring streak to 16 games when she showed off some pretty stickwork through two defenders before slotting a pass across the crease to a waiting Clark. It was an easy goal from there.
Senior Rachel Jones closed the day's scoring late in the third, putting a puck in through traffic.
Junior Jenny Ryan, the reigning WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, had two assists on the day and leads all defenseman in the country with 1.38 points per game. Her 16 assists are second-most in the country.
It's been a banner year for Ryan, who's found comfort at the blue line.
"Coach is always working with me about getting shots through," Ryan said. "(Assistant coach) Dan (Koch) is always talking about getting shots through, so that’s something I’ve personally worked on over the summer and in practice this year, just finding those lanes and letting the forwards do the rest."
Though much more touted online and by the media, the Badgers were obviously aware of the scoreless streak they held, but are happy the pressure that came with it has passed.
"There’s still a long way to go and it’s pretty cool to have that streak and break those records, but everyone would agree it’s a little bit of a weight lifted off our shoulders and now we’re just focused on playing hockey," said Clark.
Even without the streak, the Badger team defense is impressive. They've allowed just one power play goal and are allowing only .38 goals per game.
The teams will finish the series at 2 p.m. on Sunday at LaBahn Arena.