Sunday, October 4, 2009

Badger Women split to open season

Friday night the 2009 Championship Banner was added to the rafters at the Kohl Center, unfortunately the celebration was on the wrong end of the ice when the final buzzer went off. North Dakota Lady Sioux gained their 1st ever victory against the Cardinal and White in a 2-0 shocker (to some).

The Sioux goalie was outstanding (giving credit where it was due) and the officiating was horrible (same on saturday night), but the Badgers didn't capitalize on several chances. The Badgers dominated most of the game, especially the 2nd period, but couldn't sneak anything by. In the 3rd period, several Badgers tried to win the game by themselves, and the team game evaporated, and then the frustration started and penalties basically ended the game w/ 4 minutes to go, as the Badgers PKed it til there was 7 seconds left.

I wasn't completely shocked by the outcome and here is why. The Badgers graduated the most successful class in school history including the best goalie in NCAA history. Hilary Knight and Meghan Duggan are off preparing for the Olympics, and would have been the top two returning scorers. Alannah McCready, who started friday night, had little experience since Jessie played so often. Filling the gaps on offense will take time and the blue line saw three new faces. Team Chemistry is not instantaneous. North Dakota already played two games last weekend; the Badgers were definitely rusty on friday night.

The rust was gone on saturday night. The Badgers dominated almost the entire game, the Sioux did make a push late in the 3rd period. Becca Ruegsegger played her first game in the goal, and pitched a shutout as the Badgers won 3-0. Freshman were key in the victory. Besides Ruegsegger, Brianna Decker was phenomenal scoring 2 goals (both assisted by Jasmine Giles), while walk-on Lauren Unser notched her first goal assisted by Stepanie McKeough and Junior Maria Evans. Decker is going to be something special, but she did leave the game after her second goal, after schooling several Sioux players, she flew into the net shortly after the puck and hit the crossbar. She did not return following the 2nd period.

It will take some time for the team to come together, by the time they return later in the month for a 4 weekend home stand, they should be fine.

Line combos for those interested.

Giles-Decker-Ammerman
Prevost-Deluce-Sanders
Kranz-Nash-Frykas
Evans-Prough-Unser

The defenders were rotated on friday as 7 played, though on saturday I remember the following combos:

Haverstock-Dronen
Windmeier-Jakiel
Pacholok-McKeough

Geena Prough played D on friday and forward on saturday. She was great in either role and a great addition to the team.

It will be an interesting season for the Badger Women, there could be some ups and downs, but the only thing that really matters is how the finish in the end. One poor game doesn't make a season.