MANKATO, Minn. — A new day, same kind of result. After beating Minnesota State 4-0 last night, No. 4 Wisconsin put in another solid performance Saturday in beating the Mavericks 4-1 at All Season Arena.
Wisconsin (13-4-1, 9-4-1 WCHA) came out strong and opened a two goal lead over the Mavericks (3-10-5, 3-8-3 WCHA) in the first period of play. The first goal was a rebound by sophomore forward Heidi Kletzien 9:25 into the period to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead. With only 1:10 to play in the first period, senior defender Carla MacLeod put home a power play goal on a pass from sophomore center Sara Bauer to put Wisconsin up 2-0.
Unlike last night, the Mavericks had an answer. Just 4:49 into the second period, junior defender Amber Sharratt took advantage of a power-play opportunity and put a deflected pass into the net to bring the score to 2-1.
MSU’s comeback was short-lived however, as Wisconsin notched a third goal with 6:39 remaining in the second period to stretch the lead back to two goals. The goal was MacLeod’s second of the game and was also scored shorthanded.
The Mavericks struggled to mount any offense for the remainder of the game, while Wisconsin capitalized on another power-play opportunity to put the game out of reach. Just over eight minutes into the final period, junior Cyndy Kenyon found the back of the net on a deflected shot to give Wisconsin an insurmountable 4-1 lead.
“Overall we played pretty well,” Wisconsin coach Mark Johnson said. “I thought our power play at times looked sharp and at other times didn’t look sharp. We scored a nice power play goal in the first period to put us up 2-0 and from that point we played well enough defensively to keep them off the board.”
Johnson believes the victory was an important momentum builder for his team going into the winter break.
“They’re tired, they need a break,” Johnson said. “They get a nice break and get refreshed, really get their second wind and then come back and get ready for the second half of the season.”
For Minnesota State head coach Jeff Vizenor, the break will also provide much needed rest for his team.
“We’re gonna be fine, we’re gonna get back and get healthy,” Vizenor said. “All we’re worried about is the second half. We’re moving beyond the first half.”
To improve on the slow start to the season, Vizenor said his team is going to focus on certain areas to improve for the second half of the season.
“Second half we’re going to work on our special teams quite a bit. I think that’s a big area for us,” Vizenor said. “I think we just have to gain our confidence back. A year ago at this time we were feeling great about ourselves and right now our kids just don’t feel as good about themselves.”
The Mavericks will look to start the second half out on the right track when they host nonconference opponent Vermont on Jan. 2 and 3 at All Seasons Arena. The Badgers will try to maintain their strong play when they open the season at nonconference opponent Quinnipiac on Jan. 7 and 8.