The UW women's hockey team, which quietly has fashioned one of the tidiest sports dynasties in the Midwest, opened its regular season last weekend with a pair of victories at LaBahn Arena. The Badgers began their hunt for a fifth national title in nine years with a 3-0 win over Minnesota State Friday night, then swept the series the next afternoon by beating the Mavericks 5-1.
The sixth-ranked Badgers looked sluggish to open the latter game. After a scoreless first period that had fans sitting on their hands, UW wasted a power play midway through the second period without even getting a shot on goal. The rest of the game, however, belonged to the Badgers. Maybe the Mavericks wore down, or perhaps UW realized it was up against a team it has dominated 58-1-3 all-time.
A couple of minutes after the sad power play, with UW playing shorthanded, Brittany Ammerman won a scrum for the puck near the blue line, dove in from the left, and went top shelf to get the Badgers on the scoreboard. Then, late in the second period, UW converted a textbook power play to take a 2-0 lead. This time the Badgers did a good job keeping the puck trapped in the zone, collapsing all the angles, and scored an easy goal courtesy of senior Madison Packer. (Yes, that's really her name.)
The third period was more of the same. Sarah Nurse converted a Maverick turnover into her first goal as a Badger, Ammerman scored again a minute later, and Blayre Turnbull completed the scoring after a beautiful breakaway with another shorthanded goal.
If you get a chance, check out the team; they play at LaBahn six times in the next month. The games are fast-paced, tickets are cheap, and the Badgers rarely disappoint. Six appearances in the past eight Frozen Fours is an insane run of success.