No. 2 Badgers break out brooms, down Lindenwood 4-1
MADISON -- Playing without one of their senior leaders, the No. 2 Wisconsin women's hockey team's underclassmen stepped up to finish off a home sweep of Lindenwood with a 4-1 win Saturday afternoon.
With senior forward Madison Packer held out of the game due to injury, the Badgers' (6-2-0, 4-2-0) group of freshmen and sophomores delivered nine points (four goals and five assists), led by forwards Sarah Nurse and Sydney McKibbon, who chipped in three points a piece to pace the Wisconsin victory.
"I'm really happy with how we've gelled on the line so far," Nurse said of playing with McKibbon and sophomore forward Molly Doner. "We're on a roll right now. We have a lot of momentum going, so I hope that keeps up for the next few games."
With four goals coming from four different players, the Badgers showed off impressive scoring depth for the second night in a row, something UW head coach Mark Johnson said will make Wisconsin a tough team to play against moving forward.
"If you have depth in scoring you become a more challenging team to play against," Johnson said. "As we've said at the beginning, if we're going to be successful we're going to need contributions from a lot of different people."
Wisconsin wasted no time getting off on the right foot against Lindenwood (0-9-1) as Nurse gave the Badgers a 1-0 lead—a lead they would never relinquish—just under two minutes into the game with a twisted wrister from the hash marks that beat Lady Lions goalie Nicole Hensley high glove side.
"She's only going to get better," Johnson said of Nurse, who finished the game with a goal and two assists. "I'm excited for the future of her. She's got a lot of skill, a lot of talent and certainly is going to grow into a very good player."
Freshman defender Mellissa Channell followed that up with her second goal of the weekend on a power play later in the period on a shot from the point to give UW a 2-0 lead at the first intermission.
After Caitlyn Post got Lindenwood on the board in the second period to cut Wisconsin's lead to one, the Badgers extinguished any hope for a Lady Lions comeback with a pair of tallies in the third period to put the game away for good.
Sophomore defender Courtney Burke scored on the power play with seven and a half minutes to play before sophomore forward Kaitlyn Harding netted her first-career goal five minutes later to close out the win for Wisconsin.
The Badgers were backstopped by another solid performance from frosh goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens, who turned away a career-high 22 shots to secure the win, while Hensley made 39 saves in taking the loss.
With four-straight wins now under its belt, Wisconsin returns to action next weekend, Nov. 2-3, with a pair of match-ups against WCHA rival Ohio State at LaBahn Arena. Saturday's game begins at 2 p.m., while Sunday's series finale will be a noon start.
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