Badgers punch ticket to WCHA Final Faceoff
Senior Annie Pankowski notched her sixth career hat trick and freshman Britta Curl scored a pair of goals as the No. 2-ranked Wisconsin women’s hockey team defeated St. Cloud State, 8-0, Saturday at LaBahn Arena. With the victory, UW wins the first round WCHA Playoff series 2-0 and advances to next weekend’s WCHA Final Faceoff in Minneapolis.
Pankowski’s three goals give her 21 on the season. She is just the third Badger in history to score at least 20 goals in four seasons, joining Meghan Duggan (2006-11) and Hilary Knight (2007-12). Her six career hat tricks is fourth-most in school history, trailing only Knight (9), Brianna Decker (8) and Meghan Hunter (7).
The Badgers jumped out to a 4-0 lead less than 16 minutes into the game and outshot the Huskies 21-2 in the first period. Pankowski, a Patty Kazmaier Award top-three finalist, got the Badgers on the board early, burying her 19th goal of the season just 3:40 into the game.
A little over four minutes later, Curl notched her third goal of the weekend, stealing a clearing pass near the blue line, skating in and firing a wrist shot past St. Cloud State goaltender Emma Polusny.
After sophomore Caitlin Schneider made it 3-0 at the 14-minute mark, Curl notched her second goal of the day and fourth of the weekend. With the Badgers on the power play, junior Abby Roque’s shot from the left circle hit freshman Sophie Shirley in front but Curl was able to bang in the rebound while falling to the ice.
It was Curl’s 20th goal of the season, making her the seventh Badger freshman to score 20+ goals in a season and first since Pankowski had 21 in 2014-15. She also joins Hunter (42 in 2000-01), Brooke Ammerman (27 in 2008-09), Duggan (26 in 2006-07), Kendra Antony (22 in 1999-00) and Knight (20 in 2007-08).
Pankowski joined Curl in the 20-goal club with 2:24 left in the second period, digging the puck out of the corner, skating to the front of the net and sliding the puck just past Polusny’s left pad. Her goal just 1:09 into the third period, a redirection of sophomore Natalie Buchbinder’s shot from the point, capped the hat trick.
Freshman Nicole Lamantia, who notched her second career goal, and junior Presley Norby, with her second goal of the weekend, finished the scoring for the Badgers.
Junior goaltender Kristen Campbell played the first two periods to notch the win and run her personal scoreless streak to 127:47 of game action.
Three Notes of the Game
• Wisconsin notched its 30th win of the season, marking the fourth straight year the Badgers have won at least 30 games. That is the longest such streak in school history.
• UW’s four-goal first period tied its highest scoring period this season. The Badgers have scored four goals in a period three other times this season, most recently in the first period against St. Cloud State on Dec. 7.
• The Badgers have beaten St. Cloud State 21-straight times, outscoring the Huskies 92-10 over that streak.
The Badgers, who are seeded second in the WCHA Playoffs, will face No. 3 seed Ohio State on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. UW is looking for its fourth WCHA Playoff title in the last five years.