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Badgers women’s hockey team sweeps St. Cloud State

March 3, 2019

In what ended up as a second straight playoff rout, the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team’s goal scoring lead went back and forth.

By the end of the day, Annie Pankowski stood alone, stood with Badgers greats and stood at the brink of a major milestone.

Pankowski sealed her first hat trick of the season Saturday as the second-ranked Badgers made short work of St. Cloud State with an 8-0 victory at LaBahn Arena to sweep a Western Collegiate Hockey Association quarterfinal series.

The senior, a finalist for both the Patty Kazmaier and Hockey Humanitarian awards, has 21 goals even though freshman Britta Curl beat her to 20 with her second straight two-goal game against the Huskies.

Pankowski is the third Badgers player to score 20 goals in each of her four seasons, joining three-time Olympians Hilary Knight and Meghan Duggan.

“That’s a cool club to be a part of,” Pankowski said. “They’ve had awesome careers, and they’re all over the walls here, so it’s a pretty cool achievement.”

Pankowski’s three goals left her with 199 points in 148 games for her collegiate career. With another point, she’ll become the sixth Badgers player to reach 200, joining Knight, Brianna Decker, Duggan, Sara Bauer and Brooke Ammerman.

Pankowski scored in each period to send the Badgers to a WCHA Frozen Faceoff semifinal date with No. 10 Ohio State next Saturday in Minneapolis.

She gave the Badgers the lead 3:40 into the game and made it 5-0 with 2:24 left in the second period.

Hats rained down on the LaBahn Arena ice after she redirected a Natalie Buchbinder shot past goaltender Emma Polusny (49 saves) 1:09 into the third period.

With her sixth hat trick, Pankowski took over fourth on UW’s all-time list.

“At this time of the season, you want certain people to elevate their game and make contributions,” Badgers coach Mark Johnson said. “Certainly, her play this weekend indicates that she’s taken that responsibility.”

Curl became the eighth freshman in 20 seasons of the school’s program to score 20 goals when she gave the Badgers (30-4-2) a 4-0 lead over the Huskies (10-25-2) with her second goal of the first period and fourth of the series.

“I think this is probably the best that I’ve been playing all season,” Curl said. “I’m feeling good, and I’m feeling really confident in my teammates, too, so that helps a lot.”

UW outshot St. Cloud State 21-2 in the first period, putting things away early. Caitlin Schneider added to the goals by Curl and Pankowski in the opening 20 minutes.

“I couldn’t have written it up any better,” Johnson said.

Kristen Campbell (13 saves in two periods) and Nikki Cece (four saves in the third period) combined on the shutout.

St. Cloud State 0 0 0 — 0

Wisconsin 4 1 3 — 8

First period: W — Pankowski 19 (Buchbinder, Campbell), 3:40; Curl 19, 7:55; Schneider 3 (Shaver, Norby), 14:00; Curl 20 (Shirley, Roque), 15:39 (pp). Penalty: Dynek, S, 14:31.

Second period: W — Pankowski 20 (Clark, Mauermann), 17:36. Penalty: Kluge, S, 4:07.

Third period: W — Pankowski 21 (Buchbinder, Bowlby), 1:09; LaMantia 2 (Shaver, Schneider), 10:34 (pp); Norby 10 (Gardner, Shaver), 16:24. Penalty: Herzog, S, 10:13.

Saves: S (Polusny 17-16-16) 49; W (Campbell 2-11-x, Cece x-x-4) 17. Power plays: S 0-for-0; W 2-for-3. Att. — 2,110.