SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — The loss was probably expected. The final score wasn’t.
Yes, two-time defending national champion Wisconsin came into Messa Rink and shut down Union, outshooting the Dutchwomen, 42-5. But the 5-0 outcome in the season opener for both teams Friday was a surprise.
“I think we hustled, and worked hard and that’s what our No. 1 goal was,” first-year Dutchwomen coach Claudia Asano said. “Am I happy it’s 5-0? No, because I hate losing. I’m glad that our first game is out of the way, and our nerves are out of the way. I think we can play better, and I expect better tomorrow night.”
Credit Union goalie Lundy Day with keeping the score close. She made 37 saves.
Day had to be good in the first 40 minutes. The Badgers showed why they are the two-time defending national champions and the top-ranked team in the country. They had more speed, had more size and created several great scoring chances.
“I think they were really nervous,” Asano said.
But Day was strong in net. She made three saves during the Badgers’ first power play of the game midway through the first period, when Wisconsin had the puck in Union’s zone for the entire man advantage.
“It was exciting,” said Day, a junior who transferred from Maine. “They definitely kept me pretty busy. The girls played solid defense. They helped me out a lot. At times, it felt pretty tiring, but you’ve got to keep with it. That’s why we do our conditioning.”
Late in the second period, Badgers forward Tia Hanson made a nice move around Dutchwomen defenseman Lauren Muskie as she went to the net. Day stayed with Hanson, and made a chest save on the backhanded shot.
“She played very well in net,” Wisconsin coach Mark Johnson said. “The one great thing about our game [is] if the other goaltender plays well, the toughest part of our sport is to score goals. It was a good game all around. They competed hard.”
But Day could only do so much to hold off the Badgers.
Wisconsin scored its first goal on its second power-play opportunity of the first period. Alycia Matthews fired a low wrist shot from the top of the slot past a screened Day with 6:49 left in the period.
Three minutes later, Meghan Duggan tipped a Malee Windmeier top-of-the-slot shot on Day. She made the save, but the rebound caromed to Angie Keseley, who put it into the net.
Emily Kranz made it 3-0 late in the second.
The Dutchwomen didn’t get their first shot on goal until 3:12 into the third period, when Maeve Kehoe fired the puck from the top of the left-wing circle. Badgers goalie Jessie Vetter stopped it.
There was some frustration that Union wasn’t getting shots on goal.
“But we worked all week on the defense, so it was nice to see it,” Asano said. “In some ways, we were so surprised to have the puck. We won’t be in the future, but it was a way to work. We had to work for shots. We had to work for everything.”
The Badgers put the game away with two third-period goals. Kyla Sanders scored on the power play at 7:08, and Mallory Deluce had an even-strength tally nearly four minutes later.
“I think it was good,” Day said. “We played hard, which was very impressive. But at the same time, we know tomorrow that we have to come out harder.”
A crowd of 463 watched the game. About half the crowd was dressed in Wisconsin red. …
Former Clarkson men’s coach Mark Morris attended the game to watch his daughter, senior defenseman Emily. Mark Morris, who was an assistant coach at Union over 20 years ago, begins his second season as coach of the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs next week.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.