MADISON, Wis. — Two days after a five-point effort against St. Cloud State, Wisconsin junior Hilary Knight found another couple of ways to burn the Huskies Sunday afternoon.
Knight scored a pair of unassisted goals 2:10 apart and added an assist to push the top-ranked Badgers past St. Cloud State 6-0 in the series finale at the Kohl Center.
“If you give [Hilary] enough opportunities, eventually they are going to go in,” Wisconsin coach Mark Johnson said. “But it is nice to see kids get rewarded for working hard and doing things the right way.”
Knight’s first goal proved the back breaker in the contest. With just 10 seconds remaining in the second period, Knight took a long, innocent shot from just inside the blue line. However, the puck deflected through heavy traffic in front and managed to elude Huskies senior goaltender Ashley Nixon for a 3-0 Badgers lead.
“On my first goal, I was starting to a get frustrated [trying to score] so I just tried to fire a shot on net,” Knight said. “It deflected off something, maybe another player, on its way into the net.”
Two minutes into the third period, Knight put the final stamp on her five-goal weekend. After corralling a loose puck in the slot on the power play, Knight let loose a blast that eluded Nixon’s glove for a 4-0 Wisconsin lead.
“I just got a chance off a rebound from a shot from Meghan Duggan,” Knight said of her nation-leading 31st goal of the season. “I was able to put that one in up top [and over Nixon].”
Knight also picked up the second assist on Brittany Ammerman’s goal with four minutes left in the second period. Nixon made the initial save on Madison Packer and on Ammerman’s first chance, but she couldn’t handle the freshman forward’s second rebound.
Wisconsin outshot St. Cloud State (0-22-1, 0-17-1-1 WCHA) 21-1 through the first 20 minutes, but managed just one goal past Nixon. With just over two minutes left in the opening period, Duggan finished off a two-on-one break with junior forward Brooke Ammerman.
Senior forward Kelly Nash made the score 5-0 on a low backhand shot that snuck through a screened Nixon. Fellow senior Mallory Deluce finished off the scoring on a give-and-go play with senior defenseman Geena Prough with just under two minutes remaining in the game.
The loss for Nixon was hardly of the deserved variety. The Huskies assistant captain made 46 saves, many of the spectacular caliber, but it wasn’t nearly enough to slow down the attacking Badgers.
“Nixon’s been like that all year,” St. Cloud State coach Jeff Giesen said. “She’s given us a chance to win with a very young club. Today she made some phenomenal saves, but we just didn’t help her out enough.”
With the win, Wisconsin (22-2-0, 16-2-0) now carries a 10-game winning streak and a full lineup into a critical stretch of four games with matchups on the road at Minnesota-Duluth and back at home against Minnesota.
“It’s nice to have all of our players back with the team,” Johnson said. “But this next chunk of games will be really competitive. No matter what the results end up being, we will get better as a team playing in these types of situations.”
Video: Wisconsin’s Hilary Knight on the Badgers’ first half:
Video: Knight on the Badgers’ upcoming schedule: