As the hockey seasons winds to a close of the regular season, both of the Wisconsin Badgers hockey teams had crucial series ahead of them. The No. 2 women’s team (27-4-2, 17-4-2-1 WCHA) was in Duluth to do battle with No. 9 Minnesota Duluth (16-10-5, 11-8-4-3 WCHA) with a WCHA regular season title on the line while the men’s team welcomed No. 9 Arizona State to the Kohl Center to try and get a win over a ranked team which would give them confidence heading into the conference tournament.
Goalie Kristen Campbell was sharp on the night, saving 17 of 18 shots and only giving up one goal to the Bulldogs in Wisconsin’s 4-1 victory. After falling behind in the first period, and being outshot 7-2, the Badgers roared back in the second getting goals from Sophie Shirley (her conference leading 27th on the year) and a power play marker from Grace Bowlby which proved to be the game winner.
Bowlby perfectly places no. 2 in the net! pic.twitter.com/iONI2JHAxq— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerWHockey) February 22, 2020
UW added two goals in the third, from linemates Daryl Watts and Brette Pettet, to salt the game away and clinch at least a share of the WCHA regular season title. Pettet had three points (one goal, two assists) and Watts had two (one goal, one assist) to lead the Badgers in scoring.
Head coach Mark Johnson on clinching a share of the title, “We had the tie-breaker, so that means we don’t play next weekend. We’re in pretty good position. This time of the year, we need to continue making progress and playing well.”
Pettet also had thoughts on clinching on Friday night, “I think it’s awesome. People don’t always realize how long the season is and how hard it can be, but I think it’s definitely worth it. It puts a smile on your face when you accomplish something like this. I’m really excited to see where we can go.”
With the win tonight, the #Badgers have— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerWHockey) February 22, 2020
▫️ Clinched at least a share of the @WCHA_WHockey regular-season .
▫️ Earned the No. 1 seed in the WCHA #FFO20
▫️ Earned a bye for the first round of the WCHA tournament! pic.twitter.com/EcT17pNonJ
To clinch the title outright all the Badgers have to do is beat Duluth again on Sunday afternoon or have Minnesota lose to Minnesota State on Saturday. The Wisconsin game can be seen live on FloHockey or on channel 27.3 in the Madison area.
The men’s team participated in one of the wildest hockey games you’ve probably ever seen on Friday night. The Badgers (12-18-1) hosted the No. 9 Sun Devils (22-10-3) and the two teams combined to score 13 goals on the evening in a thrilling 7-6 Wisconsin victory.
Roman Achan got the Badgers on the board first with a breakaway goal coming out of the penalty box that tied the game at one.
From there, things got crazy. Achan scored his second goal of the game 57 seconds later and the floodgates were opened for both teams. ASU scored with seven seconds to go in the first to tie the game at two heading into intermission. Wisconsin scored scored two quick goals to start the second followed by the Sun Devils scoring three straight to take a 5-4 lead with just over 14 minutes left in the game.
The #Badgers' first two goals came 57 seconds apart. Their third and fourth were 39 seconds apart. Their fifth and sixth were 45 seconds apart.— Todd Milewski (@ToddMilewski) February 22, 2020
Wisconsin then scored goals in rapid succession to take a 6-5 lead, but 1:25 later ASU scored on the power play to even the game at six goals apiece. It looked like the game was headed for overtime but then Achan, aka the Hat Trick Hero, sniped a one-timer past the ASU goalie to give Wisconsin the 7-6 victory. It was Wisconsin’s first hat trick at the Kohl Center since Justin Schultz on Nov. 27, 2010 against Michigan State
Achan, who was plus-4 on the night, also added two assists for a five point bonanza of an evening. Alex Turcotte had two goals and an assist, Josh Ess and K’Andre Miller each had two helpers while Ty Emberson had three.
“The team congratulated me when I got to the bench. Then seconds later it was turning around, we’ve still got 1:06 left to battle here and that’s exactly what we did. We didn’t stop until the buzzer went and even after the buzzer it was a little aggressive,” Achan said after the game about his hat trick.
Head coach Tony Granato also had high praise for Achan after the game, “How Roman shot tonight kind of summed up his season to me. He is banged up, probably if we were in a different position he would have had a nice chance to rest tonight but that’s not happening with him. For him to come out and do what he did, especially the way the game started for us. We were sloppy and he comes out and gets those two big goals, kind of gives us some energy to get the building going and five points in a college hockey game is a heck of a night.”
Wisconsin will face No. 9 Arizona State again Saturday night in the series finale and final home game for the Badgers this season. Tomorrow’s game will honor the three seniors for Wisconsin in forward Max Zimmer, goalie Jack Berry and goalie Johan Blomquist. While the Badgers won’t make the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid, a miracle run through the B1G Tournament to capture the league’s auto-bid could happen if the team gets hot at the right time.