Wisconsin’s women’s hockey coach is Mark Johnson, of the famed Miracle on Ice team. Unfortunately for Lindenwood, there would be no miracle for them Friday night.
The Lady Lions started their home opener fast, with the energy of the packed arena squarely behind them. LU scored two goals in the first four minutes of the game to claim an early 2-0 lead over the third-ranked Badgers.
A Wisconsin turnover in their own zone led to the first goal by Kendra Broad, followed soon after by a breakaway rebound goal from assistant captain Allysson Arcibal.
LU Coach Vince O’Mara said, “Our adrenaline was pumped up to start out the game, and it showed scoring two goals early.”
The visitors, however, took advantage of some of Lindenwood’s mistakes to get back in the game. The lions coughed up the puck during a line change and last year’s NCAA player of the year, Brianna Decker, scored to cut the lead.
Just minutes later, the Lions had a failed clearance of the puck, leading to a goal from UW’s Kelly Jaminski to tie the game after one period.
Penalties and failed penalty kills plagued LU throughout the second period. The lions gave up two power play goals in the period. O’Mara commented, “We made too many undisciplined penalties. When you play a team like that, you’ve got to stay out of the box.”
Wisconsin used the power plays to gain momentum. “The power play helped us build energy,” Badger coach Johnson said. “Even when you don’t score on a power play, it still helps a team gain confidence.”
A late second-period penalty shot goal from Decker extended the lead to 5-2 and seemed to all but decide the game. “Brianna finished off that penalty shot to turn it fully in our favor,” Johnson said.
Midway through the third period, Decker scored her third goal of the night for a hat trick. The goal was the third power play goal given up by LU. “I had my line mates Sylvester and Packer setting me up to help me get those goals,” Decker said. The Lions competed tough throughout the third but were unable to cut the deficit.
On yet another power play, Wisconsin’s Karley Sylvester scored the final goal of the night, making the score 7-2. The Badgers ended the game with 19 shots and four goals on seven power play opportunities.
“I thought we came out strong, but we stopped getting aggressive. We let them keep pressuring while we were sitting back on defense,” Lion junior defenseman Chelsea Witwicke said.
This was the Lions’ first home game as a Division I hockey team. The 7-2 score was a marked improvement from last year’s 13-0 and 10-0 defeats to the team from Madison. Decker mentioned, “They came right after us tonight. They’ve got some skilled girls. You can seem them improving and growing, getting more chemistry. That was nice to see.”
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