MADISON—The Wisconsin women’s hockey team returned to the ice in Madison for the first time since Dec. 4. The Badgers did not disappoint, overwhelming St. Cloud State In a 9-0 win on Friday.
UW came off a scary weekend in St. Charles, Mo., where the second game of the series was canceled due to multiple players suffering the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
None of those effects seemed to linger for Wisconsin, who was in command from start to finish on Friday night.
It was a showcase of the skill and chemistry of the Badgers’ top line, as both Emily Clark and Annie Pankowski had three goals, with Clark adding three assists and Pankowski tallying two. It was a career-high in points for Clark and also her first career hat trick. The last time two Badgers recorded hat tricks in the same game was back in February 2011.
The game also saw Wisconsin goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens in the net, something that just a month ago seemed like a remote possibility. The senior suffered a knee injury just minutes into a game with Team Canada on Dec. 17.
She was tested early on, as the Badgers turned the puck over in their defensive end. St. Cloud had a breakaway just 30 seconds into the first period. Though Desbiens said the quick save—and the Badgers subsequent goal less than minute later—left her confident and like Wisconsin had momentum, Pankowski said Desbiens had been “robbing us all week” in practice. The players were already confident in her ability to return at full strength.
The shutout was the ninth of the season for Desbiens and the 47th of her career.
Clark, who didn’t practice Monday and Tuesday after playing five games in six days with Team Canada in the Nations Cup in Europe, seemed refreshed and energized Friday night.
She started the scoring when a pass from Pankowski turned into a bouncing puck that knocked off Sam Cogan and Clark before finding the back of the net. She added her second goal four minutes later when she tipped in a Lauren Williams rocket from the point.
The second period belonged to Pankowski, who scored three times in 8:81 to tally a natural hat trick. It’s her second hat trick in the past nine games. She did not score for the Badgers in the first 13 games of the season. Since then, she’s scored 14 goals in nine games.
Her first goal came on a gorgeous cross-ice pass from Clark that Pankowksi one-timed from the left circle. The second was a tip-in on a long shot from Mikaela Gardner.
The third goal showcased the chemistry and skill that Pankowski and Clark have, distilled into three passes. Pankowski carried the puck over the blue line and back-handed it to Clark. She fed it back to Pankowski, who one-timed it in to make the game 6-0.
The Badgers added three more goals in the third period as Abby Roque, Presley Norby and Mekenzie Steffen each found the back of the net. It was Steffen’s first goal as a Badger.
The teams return to the ice Saturday at 4 p.m. for the Badgers’ Fill the Bowl game. Wisconsin estimates that less than 1,000 tickets were still available at game time Friday evening.