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Wisconsin women’s ice hockey: Badgers sweep Minnesota State to advance in WCHA playoffs

The Badgers got consecutive victories over the weekend to advance in the playoffs.

The Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Minnesota State Mavericks in a playoff series sweep to advance to a one-game WCHA final face-off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday, with the winner continuing forward.

The Badgers didn’t necessarily start the playoff series strong on Friday, showcasing an early slump against the Mavericks in the first period, which head coach Mark Johnson and freshman Kirsten Simms acknowledged following the game.

However, it was history from there, as the Badgers earned goals from Simms, freshman Caroline Harvey, and sophomore Sarah Wozniewicz in the second period to take a healthy 3-0 lead, which they held on for the remainder of the game.

With the win, goalie Kami Cronish earned her seventh-career shutout, including her first playoff clean slate.

The Badgers, despite their struggles, were aggressive on Friday night, out-shooting the Mavericks 42-21, while dominating possession for the majority of the match.

It’s an impressive, yet expected, win for a Badgers group playing heavy minutes to younger players, providing them with some postseason experience.

Following the game, Johnson iterated how the matchup was different than the four Wisconsin wins over Minnesota State in the regular season, although the series showcased that the Badgers were able to take care of business.

On Saturday, after an early score by Sydney Langseth for the Mavericks in the first period, Badgers captain Britta Curl responded with a tying score in the second, which freshman Laila Edwards added to with the go-ahead score at the 11:54 mark.

The Badgers didn’t let go at that point, as Wozniewicz and Lacey Eden each scored in the third period to provide Wisconsin with a 4-1 win and the series sweep.

Now, the Badgers will travel to Minnesota to face the Gophers on Friday, with the weekend wrapping up the WCHA playoffs before the NCAA regional round and Frozen Four.