The No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team (11-2-1 overall, 11-2-1-1-1-1 WCHA) mopped the floor with the basement dwelling Bemidji State Beavers (2-12-2 overall, 2-12-2-2-4-1 WCHA) this weekend, winning 4-0 on Friday and 7-0 on Saturday.
The results of this series were never really in doubt and the Badgers dominated both games. On Friday, goalie Kennedy Blair only had to make 12 saves in order to notch her fourth shutout of the season while on Saturday she could have spent most of her time in a beach chair sipping a margarita as she faced a mere six shots (tied for fourth fewest allowed in a game in program history) all game, stopping them all for her fifth shutout of the season.
“Sometimes I talk to myself, sometimes I sing. You have to be all in it and have fun as well. Cheering on my teammates when they’re doing their jobs helps me stay focused too,” Blair noted after the game.
Blair has a WCHA-leading 11 wins on the season and is also second in the conference in save percentage (.947) and goals against average (1.32).
Grace Bowlby extended her point streak to seven games on Friday with her No. 12 assist of the year. The three-time WCHA Defenseman of the Week is tied for the WCHA lead with 12 assists this year. Freshman Casey O’Brien had a career-high two assists, doubling her season points. Brette Pettet, Britta Curl, Makenna Webster and Lacey Eden all scored for the Badgers in the 4-0 win.
Head coach Mark Johnson was impressed with the play of the freshmen:
“I thought Casey (O’Brien) and Makenna (Webster) probably played one of their better games, obviously Makenna getting on the score sheet and Casey having a couple assists, but I thought they practiced all week, well. I talked to all the freshmen a couple of days ago about just the general information about college hockey and stepping in. I basically discussed sending them to the wolves because of our twelve games, eight of them are against two of the top teams in the country and that’s not normally where a freshman gets introduced to women’s college hockey.”
On Saturday, it was more of the same for UW. Grace Bowlby and Sophie Shirley each extended their point streaks in the 7-0 blowout. Bowlby now has a seven-game point streak after recording assist No. 11 of the year while Shirley has at least one point in each of the Badgers’ last 10 games.
Freshman Webster scored for the second straight game, this time notching the game winner in the first period. “If you’re a young player, all those freshmen we have, if they can have those kinds of successful nights, it helps them prepare for the next game,” Johnson said.
The Shirley sisters had quite the game on Saturday, each scoring twice. Who scored the better goal? Sophie has some thoughts, “Honestly, it’s hard to say, but by the reaction from my teammates, I would say mine were just because they were all pretty hyped up so I’ll take that one.”
The Badgers head to Minnesota Duluth on February 26 and 27 for the final series of the regular season. Friday’s puck drop will be at 6 p.m. CST and Saturday’s at 3 p.m. CST. Fans can watch both games on FloHockey.