It was a statement weekend for Wisconsin early in the season, as the No. 2 Badgers earned definitive victories over No. 10 Minnesota-Duluth, defeating the Bulldogs 4-1 on Friday and 6-2 on Saturday, coming home with just the programs second ever sweep in Duluth.
With five players participating in Team Canada's Fall Festival during last weekend's season-opening games, this was the first time the full cadre of Badgers took the ice this season. It was the first time we got a look at how the line pairings might shake out and though Coach Johnson might have wanted a slightly more solid start to Friday, the definitive come-from-behind win on Saturday has to leave the team feeling confident heading into a four-game stretch in Madison with Ohio State and their nemesis, Minnesota, over the next two weeks.
Friday night was a spectacular coming out party for freshman Emily Clark, who was one of the players playing with Team Canada last week. In her debut in a different red and white, Clark scored two goals and added an assist. The first goal was a rocket off an Annie Pankowski rebound. The second was a short-hander off a rebound from a Sarah Nurse shot.
On Saturday, Nurse tallied her first multi-goal game as a Badger, adding two to the 11 she scored as a freshman. Nurse showed nothing but promise as a freshman and looked to just need to put some polish on her game. She was always just this close to being able to put it together. She spent quite a bit of time with Team Canada and their U-22 squad this off-season and this initial series from her gives high hopes that she's able to take her game to the next level.
Senior captain Blayre Turnbull also added two goals on Saturday and freshman Annie Pankowski added two more assists, bringing her season total up to seven. Karley Sylvester added an assist on Friday and a goal and an assist on Saturday to give her a team-leading nine points on the year. It's early going, but Sylvester, Pankowski and Sydney McKibbon lead the WCHA in points after two weekends.
The Badgers open up at home, playing at 7 pm on Friday and 3 pm on Sunday against Ohio State.