MADISON--It took half of the first period but once the Wisconsin women's hockey team found its legs, it was unstoppable. The Badgers (3-0 overall, 1-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) defeated Bemidji State 8-2 Saturday afternoon at the Kohl Center, the third time this season they have scored eight or more goals in one game.
Bemidji State (1-2, 0-1) took advantage early on and led off the scoring with a power play goal from sophomore forward Helena Tageson 7:23 into the game, putting the Badgers in a position they have not seen this season: behind.
"After 10 minutes tonight, we were pretty good," Wisconsin coach Mark Johnson said. "The first 10 minutes, we weren't ready for the pace and speed and so we made the adjustment and the last 50 minutes, we moved the puck and skated pretty well."
Once the Badgers got accustomed to the speed of the game, they added a goal of their own to tie the game at one apiece heading into the second period. With the Badgers on a power play late in the first period, sophomore forward Lindsay Macy fired a shot to linemate and classmate Sara Bauer, who put the puck past Bemidji State goaltender Jill Luebke from just above the crease for the equalizer. That goal was one of four power play goals for the Badgers.
"It seems the way the game is going to be structured here, the early part of the season, you're going to get power play opportunities and so if you get six or seven power play opportunities, you're going to hopefully create some scoring chances," Johnson said.
The floodgates opened in the second period, with Wisconsin adding four goals in 20 minutes. Sophomore forward Heidi Kletzien scored an even-strength goal 2:38 into the second period, her first of two for the day. Sophomore defenseman Bobbi-Jo Slusar contributed a power play goal, her first score of the season, five minutes later, and sophomore forward Sharon Cole put another point on the board for the Badgers, with a goal 10 minutes into the second period. Senior defenseman Molly Engstrom picked up her first of two power-play goals late in the second period.
Bemidji State found a way to score another power-play goal amidst the Wisconsin scoring and sophomore forward Kelly Hart added the Beavers' other goal of the game.
Wisconsin maintained a comfortable lead heading into the third period but still added a cushion, picking up goals from Bauer, Engstrom and Kletzien to bring the score to 8-2.
With Bemidji State far out of reach, Wisconsin mixed up its lines, especially during the power play, and gave most of its team some playing time, with 16 players taking at least one shot on goal. Junior forward Nikki Burish added three assists, two of which were on the power play, while playing in different mixes. Sophomore forward Lindsay Macy added a game-high four assists.
"Once you get rolling, it gives you a chance to get people ice time in situations," Johnson said. "It just bodes well for the team chemistry and the team atmosphere because everybody feels they're making a contribution."
In the net, junior goaltender Meghan Horras had 11 saves and two goals allowed, while Luebke had 34 saves and seven goals allowed in almost 55 minutes. Luebke was pulled with five minutes remaining and replaced with freshman Emily Brookshaw, who had three saves and one goal allowed.
"The puck is going in right now but it's not going to be this way all year long," Johnson said, adding later that "It's like fools' gold too, sometimes. You can't get too happy with what you have. You just have to compete and try to get better."
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