MADISON, Wis. — With younger sister Brittany Ammerman off to fast start in her freshman campaign, it has been easy for Wisconsin women’s hockey fans to forget about older sister Brooke.
Friday afternoon at the Kohl Center, Brooke Ammerman made sure that would not happen again. The junior forward picked up a pair of tallies and added an assist as the Badgers outlasted Minnesota State University, Mankato, 3-2.
“It was nice to get that monkey off my back,” said Brooke Ammerman, who up until Friday was scoreless this season after leading the Badgers with 20 goals in 2009-2010. “But other people have been contributing this year, so there hasn’t been as much pressure as there was last year.”
It was the type of performance coach Mark Johnson has been looking for all season from his sniper.
“(Brooke) got us a couple of goals today which was good,” Johnson said. “She just needed to get a couple of bounces and her first goal was just a classic example that.”
On that first goal, Ammerman contributed a power-play goal from her favorite spot on the ice. Taking advantage of her size advantage down low, Ammerman got position behind the Mavericks defense, then redirected a pass from senior forward Meghan Duggan behind Minnesota State junior goaltender Alli Altmann. The goal was Ammerman’s first of the season.
“The defenseman bit over toward Meghan in the corner, leaving me an easy tap-in,” Ammerman said.
Two minutes later, Brooke Ammerman struck again, this time by setting up her sister Brittany. Working the puck on the left side of the Mavericks defense, Brooke got the puck to Brittany in the slot. While being pushed down to her knees, the rookie forward let go a low blast that went in off the right post for a 2-0 Wisconsin lead.
“It has really fun playing with her,” Ammerman said of skating on the same line as her younger sister Brittany. “It is really easy to talk to her, and I always seem to know where she is in the ice.”
After being heavily outshot in the first period, Minnesota State settled down in the second and got rewarded with goal just 29 seconds in. On the play, junior forward Emmi Leinonen let go a heavy shot from the left side which Wisconsin freshman Alex Rigsby got a piece of, but not enough to keep it from drifting over the top and into the net.
Wisconsin restored its two-goal lead seven minutes later on Brooke Ammerman’s second power-play goal of the night. This time, it was sophomore forward Brianna Decker who fired a slap shot that pinballed in off a Mavericks defender then off Ammerman’s right shoulder.
“I was standing in front of net in the middle of a scrum,” Ammerman said. “Decker’s shot was going wide, but it hit the (defender), then hit me and just sort of dribbled in. But I didn’t really feel the puck hit me because a girl had checked me, but later I could feel it on my shoulder.”
However, in the third period, MSU took the play to Wisconsin, forcing turnovers and bad penalties. That resulted in a five-on-three power play opportunity, which the Mavericks cashed in to make it 3-2.
On the goal, sophomore defender Emilia Andersson set up freshman forward Kathleen Rogan. Rogan then faked a pass before triggering a quick shot that eluded Rigsby.
“It was nice to get that goal and get the momentum going for us in the third,” Rogan said.
Minnesota State carried play from that point on, and had a couple of glorious chances to tie the score, including Rogan ringing a would-be goal off the left post, but Wisconsin held on for the one-goal win.
“It would have been nice to get that last one,” Rogan said. “But tomorrow we just need to go hard from the start. If we play like we did in the final two periods, we should be good.”
With the win, top-ranked Wisconsin (7-0-0, 4-0-0 WCHA) remains undefeated on the young season.
“The things we did well in the first period we didn’t do the rest of the game,” Johnson said. “We started becoming complacent and trying to force one-on-one situations and when you do that, turnovers happen.”
Meanwhile, the Mavericks (2-4-0, 1-4-0) want a complete game in the rematch Saturday.
“We got steamrolled there in the first period,” Minnesota State coach Eric Means said. “But credit to our girls for starting to play there in the second. Tomorrow, we will need a 60-minute game if we want to win.”