Women’s hockey: Badgers advance into single elimination portion of postseason

first_imgStakes just got higher for the Wisconsin Women’s Hockey team, who will be finishing up their WCHA campaign this weekend.The best-of-three security blanket the Badgers previously had against University of Minnesota-Mankato is gone, and play in the WCHA Tournament is now single elimination. As the No. 2 Badgers (32-3-1, 24-3-1 WCHA) will take on No. 20 UM-Duluth (15-20-1, 10-17-1 WCHA) Saturday afternoon.Even though the Badgers swept UM-Duluth during both regular season matchups between the two programs, junior forward Mikayla Johnson knows the Bulldogs are still a threat to Wisconsin’s hopes of making the WCHA finals.“Playoff games are so different,” Johnson said. “People put so much more on the line. When we went there, they were the people that broke our shut-out record, so obviously know that they can put pucks in the net and that they can score.”Last time outThe last time the Badgers saw UM-Duluth, they walked away with a weekend sweep, winning 5-1 and 3-1.But the games against Duluth were not a walk in the park. The Bulldogs managed to slide pucks behind junior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens, not just once, but twice. Considering Desbiens has allowed .77 goals per game this season, scoring twice was no small feat for UM-Duluth.Key aspects of the gameKeeping emotions in checkNow that the Badgers no longer have the security of a best of three series, every game is equally important for the rest of the Badgers’ season. Every game is a fight to their season alive.But winning also comes with consequences, and those consequences mean ending another team’s season. This can lead to a tougher, grittier game than most, with more power plays and scoring opportunities for Duluth.No good deed goes unpunishedIf Wisconsin wins on Saturday, there are high odds they will find themselves facing UM-Twin Cities in the WCHA Final. This means the Badgers would play their rival in Minneapolis with one day in between games.If the Badgers want to walk away from this weekend as WCHA Tournament winners, they need to be prepared to take on their rivals to get that title. With such little turn-around between games, the sooner they prepare the better.Opposing player to watch: Ashleigh BrykaliukBrykaliuk is UW-Duluth’s top goal scorer (18 goals, 29 assists), and currently leads her team with points on the season. The junior forward was also responsible for both assists during the team’s last matchup against Wisconsin. Anytime that Brykaliuk is near the net, she is a threat to Wisconsin keeping points off the scoreboard.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *