Freshman Nicole LaMantia scores first collegiate goal to trigger Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team to rout of Minnesota State
The University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team didn’t take long to allay coach Mark Johnson’s concerns Saturday afternoon.
Johnson wanted to make sure his team didn’t allow the distractions of a busy weekend get in the way of its business at LaBahn Arena, and a dominant first period showed that the Badgers were locked in.
Second-ranked UW scored 102 seconds into the game, setting the tone for a 7-2 victory over Minnesota State that preceded Johnson getting his jersey retired before the Badgers men’s hockey game Saturday night.
“I like the way we prepared,” Johnson said. “Our practices were good all week, so that got me to the point where I knew that we’d come out and start fast and create some things.”
Freshman defenseman Nicole LaMantia scored her first collegiate goal 1:42 into the game, and Emily Clark scored just over five minutes later in a lopsided opening period.
Seven players scored for UW, which got four points from Annie Pankowski and three each from linemates Clark and Britta Curl.
It took the Mavericks 15 minutes to attempt a shot, and UW attempted 36 shots in the first period to Minnesota State’s two. Badgers goaltender Kristen Campbell had to make only one save in the opening 20 minutes, on a Jordan McLaughlin breakaway.
“We had an uphill battle the past two weeks,” Pankowski said. “We weren’t really sure what we were missing or what we left out during the week. We got back to the fun and simple joy of it this week during practice. It clicked today.”
With Minnesota idle this weekend, the Badgers (25-4, 15-4) can move into first place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association by two points with another victory over the Mavericks (9-14-5, 3-13-3-2) on Sunday.
UW has won 24 straight games against Minnesota State, which got 37 saves from Chloe Crosby, and is 83-2-3 in the all-time series.
Yet the Mavericks closed the gap to 2-1 on a second-period power play when Campbell (11 saves) couldn’t get enough of her left leg pad on Rebekah Kolstad’s shot from the left circle to keep it from continuing into the net. It was just the Mavericks’ third shot on goal.
The goal sparked the Badgers into action, and they used a string of Minnesota State penalties to grab a 4-1 advantage.
On the power play and with an extra attacker on the ice during a delayed penalty, Maddie Rolfes found Abby Roque in front for a redirection past Crosby. It was Roque’s 100th collegiate point, making her the 25th Badgers player to reach the milestone.
“It obviously puts you in a great group of players in the NCAA and in Wisconsin hockey,” Roque said. “It’s a proud moment.”
After another Mavericks penalty gave UW a 5-on-3 advantage, Mekenzie Steffen snapped home a shot from the left side for the second Badgers goal in 87 seconds.
“They make it 2-1 and we come back with a couple power-play goals to make it 4-1,” Johnson said. “Those are good responses.”
Pankowski and Sophie Shirley scored in the third period to make it 6-1 before Minnesota State freshman Claire Butorac scored on a breakaway. Unlike in the first period, a defensive breakdown cost the Badgers in the third.
“You’re overhandling the puck in certain areas, and sometimes you run into that when you have the puck so much,” Johnson said.
But Curl became the seventh Badgers player to score when she fired a shot high past Crosby with 6:39 remaining. Curl and Clark matched season highs with three-point games.
Minnesota State 0 1 1 — 2
Wisconsin 2 2 3 — 7
First period: W — LaMantia 1 (Shaver, Buchbinder), 1:42; Clark 9 (Curl, Pankowski), 6:43. Penalty: Kolstad, M, 16:33.
Second period: M — Kolstad 8 (Boyd, Wilgren), 6:09 (pp). W — Roque 8 (Rolfes, Steffen), 8:55 (pp); Steffen 7 (Curl, Rolfes), 10:22 (pp). Penalties: Clark, W, 4:41; Hinze, M, 7:54; Truax, M, 8:55; Hinze, M, 10:01; Jackson, M, 12:32; Steffen, W, 17:46; Gardner, M, 17:46.
Third period: W — Pankowski 16, 1:16; Shirley 15 (Clark, Pankowski), 7:48. M — Butorac 1 (Oelkers), 9:22. W — Curl 15 (Pankowski, Clark), 13:21. Penalties: Bowlby, W, 5:31; Bryant, M (major), 16:25.
Saves: M (Crosby 11-11-15) 37; W (Campbell 1-4-6) 11. Power plays: M 1-for-2; W 2-for-6. Att. — 2,273.