No. 1 Badgers finish season as NCAA runners-up

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Despite outshooting Clarkson 41-20, the No. 1 Wisconsin women’s hockey team fell to the No. 2 Golden Knights, 3-0, in the NCAA championship game on Sunday at The Family Arena.

The Badgers (33-4-4) dominated possession, but Clarkson (32-4-5) tallied a power-play goal in the second period before scoring twice in the third.

“As I told the team, we are disappointed with the outcome,” UW head coach Mark Johnson said. “But the kids played hard, played well, they created opportunities. I’m very proud of their effort, especially our senior class who for four years have done so much to help our program grow and have obviously won a lot of hockey games and created a lot of great memories for our team. It’s a tough pill to swallow. When you lose this game, you’re so close to the end. But I told them too as time goes on and you reflect on the season, it’s a special group, a special season and they are going to have some great memories to reflect on, so I’m certainly proud of that.”

“I think hockey has a funny way of humbling you,” said junior Annie Pankowski, who was named to the all-tournament team. “When you think you’re doing well and you have all the things going the right way, it reminds you that not everything is perfect. I’m really proud of this group and we laid it out there. You can’t ask for much more.”

Clarkson opened up scoring in the second period with a power-play goal from Savannah Harmon 27 seconds into the frame.

CU’s Cayley Mercer doubled the CU lead with less than three minutes remaining before scoring an empty-net goal with 44 seconds to go.

Senior goaltender and 2017 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner Ann-Renée Desbiens made 17 saves in the contest to complete her historic season. Desbiens finished the season leading the NCAA in goals-against average (0.71), save percentage (.963), win percentage (.886) and shutouts (17).

Desbiens departs Wisconsin as the NCAA career record holder for shutouts with 55, a 0.90 goals-against average and save percentage with a .955 clip.

Sunday’s game marked the end of a remarkable season for the Badgers, as UW captured the WCHA regular season and tournament titles while advancing to the NCAA title game for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

“It was a great way to go out, but unfortunately when you don’t win your last game it’s a little bit of a disappointment,” senior captain Sydney McKibbon said. “This is going to sting definitely for a while, being so close, and I thought we played a great game, but it’s definitely going to take a while to process. The group played well today, we had a great group all year and so thanks to them.


Wisconsin completes weekend with 5-4 win over Clarkson

POTSDAM, N.Y.—If Saturday night’s offensive production from the Wisconsin men’s hockey team is any indication for the rest of the season, all signs point towards the offense being a potent one.

Five different players scored for the Badgers (4-2-0, 0-0-0-0 Big Ten), as they defeated the Clarkson Golden Knights (3-4-1, 0-0-0-0 ECAC) by a score of 5-4.

Grant Besse’s third goal of the season just 15 seconds into the third period gave UW a lead that they would not relinquish. The senior forward finished off a nice pass from Luke Kunin who was standing behind the Clarkson goal when he gave the feed.

Seamus Malone opened the scoring for the Cardinal and White nine minutes into the game on a sharp-angle shot that beat Golden Knight’s goaltender Steve Perry over his left shoulder. Assists were given to Dan Labosky and Tim Davison on the play.

Kunin scored 39 seconds later on a sharp wrist shot from the slot to give the Badgers their first two-goal lead of the game. Clarkson scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal with under a minute to play in the first period to cut the UW lead to 2-1 heading into the first intermission.

The Golden Knights started the second period the way they had ended the first, by scoring a goal 44 seconds into the frame to draw the game even at a 2-2 score.

However, the Badgers would claim the next two goals as junior defenseman Cullen Hurley scored the first goal of his career in his first game of the season and fifth of his career. The goal put Wisconsin back in the lead. Junior defenseman Corbin McGuire added his fourth goal of the year three minutes later to give UW another two-goal lead.

Clarkson added another power-play goal with under a minute to play in the second period to narrow the Badgers’ lead to 4-3 after two periods of play.

The Golden Knights would make it a close game late in the third period by scoring a goal that made the score 5-4 but the UW defense would hold on to claim the victory.

Sophomore goalie Matt Jurusik stopped 24-out-of-28 shots he faced on the night, while the UW penalty-killing unit went 6-for-8 on the night.

The weekend sweep marked the Badgers’ first two-win weekend on the road since March 7-8, 2014 at Penn State.

Wisconsin returns to the Kohl Center next weekend for a two-game series against Northern Michigan. The two teams played each other in the opening series of the season, with each team getting a victory at the Resch Center in Green Bay.