Badgers to keep 22-game streak rolling

first_imgAfter trouncing North Dakota 8-1 and 7-0 last weekend, the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team will take their 22-game winning streak into Mankato to play Minnesota State this weekend. Although the dismantling of the Fighting Sioux vaulted the Badgers back to sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the polls (the University of New Hampshire dropped back to No. 2), the win wasn’t celebrated for long, and focus was immediately shifted to this weekend’s games.”We need to put [North Dakota] behind us and come into this weekend with an enthusiastic attitude,” defenseman Emily Morris said.For the second consecutive week, the Badgers (9-0-1, 7-0-1 Big Ten) will face an opponent that has never beaten them. Wisconsin is 27-0-1 historically against Minnesota State (3-4-0, 2-4-0, Big Ten). A common theme for the Badgers this season has been taking each game one at a time, regardless of the strength of the opponent. “You need to take the philosophy of one game at a time,” UW head coach Mark Johnson said. “It’s an old cliché. If you read about yourself and get ahead of yourself, it can be trouble.””We just need to go into it with the same attitude we go into all of our games,” Morris said of focusing solely on this weekend’s matchup. “To get up for every game is one of our main focuses; each game is its own entity.”In addition to taking each game as seriously as the next, the Badgers have also been focusing on continued improvements. Despite playing seemingly flawless hockey so far this season, making improvements is both a necessary and important step in Johnson’s view.”I know we can be better, so [we] work on that in practice, challenge the kids and get them to understand they can get better if they choose to,” Johnson said. “I would anticipate us coming out Friday night and taking another step in that direction and becoming stronger as a team.”Johnson’s attitude has seeped down into the minds of the players as well.”[Coach Johnson] does a good job really instilling in us the desire to keep pursuing perfection on the ice,” senior Phoebe Monteleone said. “We need to keep working.”And even a team that hasn’t lost in its last 22 games has improvements to make.”Things like puck movement, quickness, moving feet … those are things that take patience, especially with the young players,” Johnson said of areas in which the Badgers could improve. “It takes time and games and going through competition in order for those skills to develop.””We’ve been working on moving the puck, and we’re looking pretty good,” Monteleone said. “We’re always trying to do the little things right, and that’s something you can always improve on.”Though Minnesota State has just two wins in conference play this season, two Maverick players received recognition as the WCHA’s Player of the Week last week. Goalie Britni Kehler, who posted two shutouts against North Dakota, was the Defensive Player of the Week, while the leading Maverick scorer, Maggie Fisher, took home Offensive Player of the Week honors. Kehler will certainly be tested this weekend, as Jinelle Zaugg and Sarah Bauer are still tied for first nationally in points with 19, and Erica Lawler is close behind with 14 and only fourth in the country.Regardless of their opponent’s record, the Badgers have come out fighting in each series this season, in spite of the target they wear as the defending national champions and the nation’s top team. This weekend should be no different as the Badgers plan on coming out ready to play their hardest, even against another seemingly inferior opponent.”We’re not going to take [Minnesota State] lightly,” Monteleone said “We’re going to respect our opponents, but we’re not going to lie down and let them take advantage of us. We’re just going to play hard and keep doing the things we do.”last_img

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