ST. CLOUD, Minn — By the final buzzer, Wisconsin had easily won the shots-on-goal battle 36-12, but coming up short in the more important offensive tally ended the No. 1 team’s 13-game unbeaten streak.
Hailey Clarkson’s power play goal with just under seven minutes to play in the third period broke a scoreless deadlock, and junior netminder Lauri St. Jacques’s commanding 36-save shutout gave St. Cloud State (13-14-1, 10-11-1 WCHA) a 1-0 victory over Wisconsin (24-3-1, 19-2-1), yet another high-profile scalp in its collection.
“Today we were much more focused,” said St. Cloud State coach Jason Lesteberg, contrasting the win with yesterday’s 3-1 loss. “We can play with anyone in the country when we play a focused game.”
St. Cloud has proven just that this calendar year. The Huskies beat then-No. 1 St. Lawrence on Jan. 7 and swept then-No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth last weekend. No team in the nation has more wins over the top four teams in the USCHO.com poll than St. Cloud.
The difference in today’s win was St. Cloud capitalizing after Wisconsin’s Cyndy Kenyon and Patty Kazmaier candidate Sara Bauer went to the box just 76 seconds apart.
Shortly after the penalty to Kenyon expired, junior Hailey Clarkson redirected a one-timer from Brittni Kuyper that eluded Wisconsin sophomore goalie Jessie Vetter to break the scoreless tie.
“I just saw an open lane,” said Kuyper. “I hadn’t really gotten any shots off all day, so I just threw it on net, and Clarky made a great tip-in.”
The Wisconsin defense dominated the first period, holding SCSU to only one shot, but the Badger offense failed to crack St. Jacques with nine shots. The second period was even more lopsided, as St. Cloud took three penalties in the span of 4:12, but the Husky defense continued to hold strong.
Throughout the first two periods, Wisconsin maintained excellent discipline, allowing only one penalty in the game’s first 40 minutes. By comparison, St. Cloud State took 18 minutes worth of penalties during the same period, including a 10-minute misconduct to junior Denelle Maguet. But only St. Cloud could take advantage of its power play opportunities.
Given the 1-0 lead, the St. Cloud State defense hung tough, killing two more Wisconsin power-play opportunities, including a 45-second six-on-four with Vetter out of the net in the final 90 seconds.
The Badgers finished 0-for-7 on the power play. The nation’s highest scoring line of Sharon Cole, Sara Bauer, and Jinelle Zaugg was held scoreless on the weekend.
Wisconsin had not been shut out since a 3-0 loss to Minnnesota on Oct. 25, 2003.
St. Jacques has been instrumental in leading St. Cloud to three victories in its last four games with 146 saves on 151 shots in that span.
“The second period was the most intense,” said St. Jacques, who made 16 stops in the second frame alone. “Fortunately we rotated very well and got through it.”
Wisconsin returns home to face No. 5 Minnesota on Friday and Saturday in a two-game set. St. Cloud State visits Minnesota State for a two-game showdown.