NORTHFORD, Conn. — Wisconsin got two goals from junior Nikki Burish and 15 saves from classmate Meghan Horras en route to a 4-0 win over Quinnipiac Saturday afternoon at the Northford Ice Pavilion. The win gave the Badgers a weekend sweep with an 11-0 combined score in the two games. Nevertheless, the 4-0 margin was not as wide as one might expect from a team that improved to 15-4-1 with the win against a team that dropped to 3-15-1 with the loss.
“We’ve got a bunch of little things we need to work on,” said Badgers coach Mark Johnson, “but it was a good weekend from the standpoint that we’ve been off for three and a half weeks. The girls had a nice break, going home, and now it’s down to business again. So, we’re happy with the wins, but we certainly need to make some progress between now and next Friday afternoon.”
“We accomplished a lot of things that we wanted to do,” Quinnipiac coach Mike
Barrett said. “We limited their quality scoring chances, kept the pucks to the outside. We’ve been having trouble putting the puck in the net all year, so we were hoping to capitalize on our chances. That didn’t happen. I’m happy with five of the six periods of the weekend.”
Wisconsin wasted no time in picking up where they left off on Friday. Senior Molly Engstrom blasted a shot from the point that found its way through traffic to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead in the second minute of play. The reaction to the goal was somewhat delayed, as the red light never went on, leaving players in front of the Quinnipiac net to continue searching for the puck.
“I just took the shot,” Engstrom said, “and I thought it went in, so I went up, and nobody did anything. So, I was looking at the ref, and he said, ‘goal,’ and then it was very slow.”
Junior Nikki Burish made it 2-0 not long thereafter. Then she jammed home a rebound for the 3-0 lead just after the Bobcats had finished killing off a penalty.
“Overall, as a team we came out pretty strong in the first period,” Burish said, “and I was able to feed off of that.”
With one minute to go in the period, Badger freshman Mikka Nordby made it 4-0 when Quinnipiac sophomore goalkeeper Janelle Wolitski lost track of the shot from the point.
In the second period, Bobcats senior Catharine Lapare replaced Wolitzki in the Quinnipiac net and fared better as she turned aside all 10 shots she faced. The Bobcats, for their part, managed only two shots in the frame, both of which were stopped by Horras.
Lapare turned in a similar performance in the final frame with 16 saves. But the Quinnipiac offense never solved Horras so it went for naught.
“Playing Wisconsin was a lot of fun,” Lapare said, “because they’re really good, and you always step up your play. Also, it gives you a lot of confidence, and I’m sure I’m going to go back in the next game and be more confident.”
With its non-conference schedule complete, the Badgers return to WCHA play next weekend, when they welcome No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth for a pair of games at the Kohl Center. The Bobcats, meanwhile, will travel to upstate New York for games against future ECACHL conference mates Colgate and Union.
Elliot Olshansky is an assistant editor for CollegeSports.com.