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Wisconsin women’s hockey: Daryl Watts hat trick helps beat Bulldogs

A night after being shutout, Wisconsin explodes for a 5-1 victory.

COLLEGE HOCKEY: FEB 05 Womens - Minnesota Duluth at Wisconsin Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One night after many* in the media** questioned whether or not something was wrong with their offense, the Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team exploded for a 5-1 victory over Minnesota Duluth on Saturday at La Bahn Arena in Madison.

*maybe just me
**technically true

The No. 4 Badgers (21-4-4 overall, 16-4-3-2-0-2 WCHA) opened the scoring in the first period with a power play goal from Daryl Watts and then unleashed a flurry of goals in the second period, two from Watts to complete her fifth career hat trick, to take a 4-0 lead heading into the final frame.

To open the third period, the No. 5 Bulldogs (18-9-0 overall, 15-8-0 WCHA) scored a quick goal but any thoughts of a comeback were squashed a few minutes later when Caitlin Schneider added the fifth, and final, goal of UW’s evening. The Badgers finished with five goals on 29 shots which is a hell of a statement to end a troubling scoring stretch.

“It feels like the past couple weekends we’ve been getting so many shots and nothing’s been going our way. So for [her second goal] to go in, it felt like the tides are changing and we’re going to ride this to the end of the season,” Watts said after the game.

Goalie Kennedy Blair stood tall in net on Saturday, stopping 26 of 27 shots to keep the Bulldogs frustrated. Nicole LaMantia and Casey O’Brien each had two assists on the evening and Makenna Webster had a goal and an assist to round out the scoring.

“It was nice coming out of the power play, obviously that helps out. But I think the players enjoy seeing the lights go on and the horns go off and get rewarded. It was a good game. Good bounce back and obviously got a couple good breaks there to start the second period. I’m happy for the team. Their attitude is good. They’re playing hard and they’re doing a lot of good things and tonight they got rewarded because of that so you’re happy for them,” head coach Mark Johnson noted.

A couple of fun facts from the post-game notes:

  • Grace Bowlby and Caitlin Schneider broke the school record for games played in a UW career this weekend as the senior duo appeared in their 164th and 165th career games for the Cardinal and White.
  • Watts is now fifth for all-time points in the NCAA with 284 and is one point away from moving into a tie for third place in NCAA history with Julie Chu and Jocelyn Lamoureaux.

Wisconsin hosts its final home regular-season series of the season, February 12-13, against Minnesota State. Saturday’s game is set to start at 4 p.m. CT and will feature Wisconsin’s first ever CHUCK-A-PUCK canned food drive presented by EatStreet.