The Wisconsin women’s hockey team finished up their regular season last weekend with two ties against No. 4 Minnesota, giving them a record of 27-2-4.
Still ranked No. 1 in the country, the Badgers have some high expectations in front of them as postseason play starts up this weekend. Beginning this Friday, Wisconsin will face the Minnesota State Mavericks in a best-of-three series, with the winner moving on and the loser seeing their season end.
Senior goalie Ann-Renée Desbiens will look to continue her stellar season, coming off of yet another impressive weekend in which she made 34 and 35 saves to help the Badgers hold off the Gophers for their two ties. Her performance certainly did not go unnoticed, as she was announced to be the co-defensive player of the week with, funny enough, Minnesota goalie Sidney Peters.
Desbiens boasts NCAA bests in average goals against per game (0.74), save percentage (.961) and win percentage (.893). Badgers head coach Mark Johnson thinks her play is deserving of the highest recognition, having said that she ought to be leading the race for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which is given to the best player in NCAA Division I women’s hockey.
This weekend’s series against Minnesota State looks like what should be an easy warm up for Desbiens and Wisconsin. Minnesota State is just 7-24-4 on the season, and has won just one of their last 13 games.
The Mavericks look to be outmatched in just about every aspect by the Badgers’ high-powered offense, lockdown defense, and fantastic coaching. Wisconsin won all four matchups between the two teams this season and put a total of 17 goals in compared to Minnesota State’s two.
Anticipating a deep run into postseason play, the Badgers need to take each opponent seriously and be sure to continue to play at a high level to avoid any kind of slip up. Considering last year’s loss to Minnesota in the Frozen Four, a trip to the championship this year would even sweeter.
The puck will drop at 7 p.m. CT Friday night in Madison at LaBahn Arena, as Wisconsin takes on Minnesota State in a three game elimination series.