Balanced offensive attack play pivotal role in wins over Mavericks

first_imgThe offensive onslaught from the Wisconsin women’s hockey team this weekend has built their confidence as they move forward in the season.In two games against Minnesota State, the Badgers scored 16 goals, eight in each game.Wisconsin went 2 for 6 on power plays Friday afternoon, but three of those came at times when the Badgers were already winning 8-0. The two conversions came early in the second period as the Badgers built their lead.“The score went from one to 3-0 in those two power plays. If you’re on our side of the bench, you’re pretty excited about what just happened,” Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson said. “If you’re on their bench, you’re probably a little bit dejected, so the momentum swung there pretty quickly.”Wisconsin’s offense was also able to diversify its attack with six players scoring Saturday and seven players scoring goals Friday. Ten different players for the Badgers had goals over the series.The depth of the offensive attack will be necessary as the level of competition increases throughout the year.Despite Minnesota State being last in the conference without a victory on the season in the WCHA, Wisconsin’s 8-2 and 8-0 wins still offered proof of how potent their offensive attack can be.A bye weekend last week could have been the factor that allowed the Badger offense to get on track for their massive outbreak this week.With three players gone for the Four Nations Cup the weekend of Oct. 31, it gave younger players time on the ice, which showed during this weekend’s series.“When you have multiple people scoring, you just become more difficult to play against,” Johnson said. “Your one, two, three players may not score on a particular night, so your four, five and six jump in. Like last night, [Annie] Pankowski throws a hat trick at them, and then Syd [McKibbon] tonight. So if you can have balanced scoring, it bodes well. Somebody’s not going to be able to score every night.”Each of the top three lines for the Badgers were able to get points on the board, which shows how deep they are as a team.“I think it’s a huge asset for our team when we can put three lines, or four lines that can get the puck in the net,” McKibbon said. “It’s hard to defend for other teams, and it’s something that’s going to be playing to our advantage later in the year.”Since the Badgers have been able to score, the overall team confidence level is rising. And it’s not just the top lines or starters building their confidence.Johnson also made a switch in goal for the Friday afternoon game, giving junior Jorie Walters just her second start of the year, so the big lead made her job easier. The change at goaltender was strictly to give sophomore Ann-Renée Desbiens rest on short turnaround for the game.Walters was also able to play loosely, which helped her get her second shutout for the season.“You know that not everything is necessarily riding on you,” Walters said. “You can make one little mistake and it’s not going to put you completely behind. You don’t want to make that mistake, but the extra cushion is there.”But when the entire offense is clicking like it was against Minnesota State, the team hopes it can carry the offensive momentum into its future games.“When new people are scoring and everyone is clicking, we get more team confidence, which can roll into next weekend against St. Cloud,” McKibbon said.With the ten players scoring for the Badgers, and even more getting points on assists, the entire team will be better prepared for future games.A series win like this can also boost morale within the team to help them practice harder throughout the week to get better.“The nice thing about this weekend is that everybody got involved and everybody got minutes so everyone can feel good about themselves. We get back to practice Sunday and we will have players who are comfortable and confident,” Johnson said.The confidence they gained from this performance should help them moving forward, as they try to hold onto first place in the WCHA. Wisconsin is eight points ahead of second place Minnesota, but they have also played three more games.The momentum from this series should keep Wisconsin improving and moving in the right direction to become an even more complete team.last_img

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