The Wisconsin women’s hockey team’s dominance continues.
Coming into Saturday’s NCAA tournament first-round game at LaBahn Arena, No. 8 Robert Morris’s Jessica Dodds, the CHA’s best goaltender, boasted a 1.75 goals against average and a .935 save percentage.
No. 1 Wisconsin’s top-ranked scoring offense chased Dodds less than 30 minutes into the game after she allowed four goals. The Badgers then proceeded to score three more against her replacement, Lauren Bailey, en route to a 7-0 win.
With the victory, Wisconsin advances to the NCAA Frozen Four next week in St. Charles, Mo. The Badgers face No. 4 Boston College, which defeated St. Lawrence 6-0.
Six different Badgers—Mekenzie Steffen, Sarah Nurse, Baylee Wellhausen, Maddie Rolfes, Annie Pankowski and Emily Clark—scored goals against the Colonials. Wisconsin peppered Robert Morris with 49 shots while Badgers goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens only faced 22.
Steffen got the scoring underway in the first, pushing one past Dodds to put the Badgers up 1-0 less than two minutes into the game.
Senior Sarah Nurse capped the first-period scoring, tallying her 25th goal of the year off of a great Annie Pankowski pass in front of the RMU net.
The Badgers continued to roll into the second period. Wellhausen slapped a rebound home off a Sophia Shaver shot to put Wisconsin up 3-0, and the rout was on.
Maddie Rolfes one-timed a Nurse pass to give Wisconsin a 4-0 lead and chase Dodds.
The goalie change did not help RMU, however, as Nurse returned the favor from her earlier goal, setting up Pankowski for a backhand goal that beat Bailey to make it 5-0.
Emily Clark finished off the scoring with a pair of goals. Her first converted a Robert Morris turnover into an unassisted goal, giving the Badgers a 6-0 lead at the end of the second period.
Clark’s second was a wicked wrister from the center of the offensive zone circle that ripped past Bailey to put the Badgers up 7-0.
Clark, Nurse, Pankowki, Steffen and Wellhausen all had multi-point games and no Badgers were minus. No Robert Morris player was plus on the game.
Wisconsin came into the game with the nation’s top-ranked scoring offense, averaging 4.03 goals scored per game and the top-ranked scoring defense, allowing only 0.86 goals per game, numbers which will improve with the impressive showing against the Colonials. The Badgers’ best-in-the-nation penalty kill also improved on its 92.0-percent rate.
The focus now moves on to St. Charles and the national semifinals. No. 4 Boston College, the Hockey East champion, is 28-5-5 after knocking off St. Lawrence. In the other half of the bracket, familiar foe Minnesota upset No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth 1-0 on Saturday. The Gophers will take on No. 2 ECAC champion Clarkson, which beat Cornell 3-1. Wisconsin has beaten both Minnesota and Clarkson already this year.