MANKATO, Minn. – Fueled by two third-period goals, the No. 2 Wisconsin women’s hockey team defeated Minnesota State, 3-1, Saturday at All Seasons Arena.
A balanced attack helped the Badgers complete the sweep, as sophomore Courtney Burke, freshman Sydney McKibbon and sophomore Erika Sowchuk all found the back of the net for Wisconsin.
“It was a good game,” UW head coach Mark Johnson said. “It was senior day for them, so they came out and played with some more intensity and more inspired than they might have yesterday. It’s a good win for us, it’s a great way to finish off the regular season.”
After a scoreless first period, Burke found the back of the net on a 5-on-3 power play, launching a rocket past MSU netminder Danielle Butters to give UW a 1-0 lead.
After MSU’s Lauren Barnes tied up the game early in the third, the Badgers scored two goals in 10 seconds to take a lead they would never relinquish.
McKibbon hit in a loose puck near the MSU net to propel UW to a 2-1 advantage. It marked McKibbon’s fourth goal of the season. Seconds later, sophomore Erika Sowchuk fired a laser into the top corner to give UW a 3-1 lead.
Freshman Ann-Renée Desbiens made 27 saves and picked up her 11th win of the year.
“She played well,” Johnson said. “She was one of the reasons why we won the game. She gave us a chance, she made some nice saves. They created some chances on their power play, and she played well. I’m glad we chose to play her as she didn’t miss a beat.”
The Badgers outshot the Mavericks 44-28. With the win, the Badgers completed the sweep of the Mavericks, a series where UW outshot MSU 96-49.
Wisconsin will host Minnesota State next weekend in the first round of the WCHA playoffs, Feb. 28- March 2, at LaBahn Arena.
“The tough part is you have to play the same team in a best-of-three series, so it should make for some exciting hockey," Johnson said.
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