MADISON -- Wisconsin women's hockey coach Mark Johnson is pretty handy with hockey cliches about "how the puck bounces, just sometimes not in your favor," and using phrases like "puck luck" to describe why his team isn't always able to light the lamp.
Even he was out of terms after two series in which the Badgers scored just four goals on 161 shots on goal. On Sunday, Wisconsin put 63 shots on goal, but attempted 121 in a 2-1 overtime win over Bemidji State.
Redshirt senior Brittany Ammeran scored the game-winner less than a minute into overtime, the first OT-winner of her career. She put the puck in the net and there was a delay in her celebration, almost as though it didn't register to her that she'd scored.
"I think it took a second," she said. "I think I was shocked more than anything. It was kind of an odd play, it just kind of popped out to me. I mean, it’s been awhile, so maybe I just forgot how it felt. I was excited, I don’t think I’ve scored an overtime goal in my career here, so it’s great."
Ammerman leads the Badgers in goals, but hadn't tallied one since the Nov. 22 game at St. Cloud State. The Badger top line had been scuffling and Ammerman admitted she was pressing.
"I think yesterday I pressing a bit and I just went in to today’s game and told myself I’m doing more harm than I am good when I press myself. I was just doing the little things right, working hard, keeping my mindset positive and when we went into the overtime and I was with Annie (Pankowski) and Emily (Clark) I just had a good feeling and we worked hard to keep the puck down there and just put it in net," said Ammerman.
As in Minnesota, Johnson switched up the lines to try and find combinations that would help his goal-scorers break the seal. On Sunday, the lines changed throughout the course of the game as the Badgers continued to struggle to find the net. Johnson kept trying to find something that would turn the tide for his team.
"I think coach realized and changed up the lines today, which is good," Ammerman said. "Blayre [Turnbull] and I were put on different lines; we’ve obviously both been in quite a slump and able to help each other out, so it was a good day to do that. It’s always exciting when you get to play with new players. I enjoyed playing with two freshman, they kind of keep it lively.
"It’s just a good change of scenery. I think that obviously helped. We’ve all been talking, just keeping it positive on the bench, keeping it light. We just tried to get shots on net. We knew it was going to be a gritty goal."
Give credit to both Bemidji State goalies, though special recognition should go to Sunday's goalie, Erin Deters. The redshirt freshman has played in just six career games. In those games, she has tallied a total of 195 career saves. In her two games against Wisconsin, Deters has tallied 105 total saves.
Despite the lack of scoring, Johnson feels good about how his team is playing.
"Similar to last Sunday -- if we get that kind of effort, I don’t know what more I can ask for," he said. "If the goalie’s going to make 70 saves, then she’s going to make 70 saves. Our job is to keep pushing.
"You look at the way the game went, you’d say we deserved to win. Maybe it wasn’t the way you wanted to finish. Kudos to the goal tender and [Bemidji State’s] willingness to block shots and do things to prevent us from scoring. We asked the team this morning to come out with a push and I thought we did a pretty good job over three periods of doing that, creating opportunities. We found a way to win, that’s the most important part."
The win stopped a three-game winless streak for Wisconsin. Had the Badgers failed to pull out the victory, it would have been their first four-game winless skid since 2001. The Badgers went 0-5-1 from Nov. 16-Dec.1 of that season.
The Badgers welcome defending national championsClarkson next weekend. Former Badgers and current national team captain Meghan Duggan is an assistant coach with Clarkson and will be returning to campus. Puck drop is 2 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.