VAIL — As Badgers fans sang all weekend, “When you say Wisconsin, you’ve said it all.”
No. 2-ranked Wisconsin said a lot Saturday night, routing No. 8 Boston University, 5-0, at Dobson Arena, capping a weekend of Division I women’s hockey. But please don’t call it a statement game or anything of the like.
“No, it’s just another game,” Badgers coach Mark Johnson said. “Obviously, it’s a nonconference game against a worthy opponent. We’re happy with the victory, but it’s early in the process. We’ve got a long way to go.”
Wisconson’s Blayre Turnbell started the Badgers off in fine style, streaking down the right side and lifting her shot over the shoulder of BU goalie Kerrin Sperry.
The Badgers capitalized on a high-sticking call late in the first stanza as Kay Joseph stuffed it home for a 2-0 lead.
Sarah Nurse kept the Badgers rolling with a wrister into the top-right corner with 17:11 left in the second. That made it a night for Sperry, who was pulled in favor of Victoria Hanson. In fairness to Sperry, who was magnificent in the Terriers’ 2-0 win Friday night against St. Cloud State, she wasn’t getting much defensive help.
That much was apparent, when only four minutes later, Sydney McKibbon lit the lamp for a 4-0 Wisconsin lead.
By that point, BU’s frustration was apparent. The Terriers’ Maddia Elia was shown the gate for a contact-to-the–head penalty. That was the beginning of a parade to the penalty box for the Terriers. With 1:34 left in the second, Karley Sylvester struck on the power play and the Badgers were cruising at 5-0.
And that was more than enough for Wisconsin senior goalie Alex Rigsby. She upped her career record to 90-18-6. It was her 25th shutout.
As for a possible return to Vail next season, that decision is above Johnson’s pay grade, but it’s clear that Wisconsin enjoyed its stay.
“That’s up, obviously, to the administration,” he said. “We certainly thank the people, not only the community of Vail, but Jared (Biniecki) and all the people at the rink for hosting us. Hopefully, the people enjoyed it. Hopefully, down the road, we get an opportunity to do it again. It was a great experience. The four teams that participated, the players, their families and certainly the coaching staff enjoyed it, so it was a very successful weekend.”
St. Cloud State 3, Northeastern 2
“Let’s go, Huskies,” is not exactly a new cheer at Dobson.
After all, the rink serves as home ice for the area’s only high school hockey team, the Battle Mountain Huskies, whose coach is Gary Defina, a Northeastern grad, Class of 1985.
But it was St. Cloud State’s Huskies who came away with a 3-2 win Saturday afternoon over the Northeastern Huskies.
St. Cloud hopes Saturday’s win in a close game is a harbinger of things to come after many tight losses in a 1-8-3 start to 2013-14.
“Obviously we’ve been in some tight games the last month, so to finish it off is a good bonus,” St. Cloud St. coach Jeff Giessen said. “I think we have a lot of potential. We’re so good defensively and in goal.”
That power play wasn’t too bad either. Cari Cohen’s slap shot beat Northeastern goalie Sarah Foss on the left side. A little more than four minutes into the game. St. Cloud State made it 2-for-2 on the advantage when Skye Kelly went five-hole on Foss.
In between those first-period markers, Northeastern’s Chelse Goldberg threaded a beauty of a pass to spring teammate Hayley Masters, who went top shelf on St. Cloud goalie Katie Fitzgerald.
In the second, Northeastern’s Kelly Wallace jumped on a rebound from a shot from Colleen Murphy to even the game at two. Although both team’s were at full strength, St. Cloud State’s third looked like a power play, as the Minnesotans kept the puck in Northeastern’s end for more than a minute. Julia Gilbert blasted a rocket from the right circle to give St. Cloud St. for good at 3-2.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.