The Wisconsin women’s hockey team is looking ahead to the matchup with the Minnesota Golden Gophers this week after ending the season on a high note, going 35-3-1 overall and remaining undefeated at home. Head coach Mark Johnson said he feels grateful for another week of practice and game to play.After defeating Mercyhurst 6-0, clinching their spot in the NCAA Frozen Four, the Badgers will face the Gophers in Durham, New Hampshire. The last time the Badgers played the Gophers, they lost both games, one ending in overtime. The Badgers have played the Gophers five times this season, and Johnson has peace of mind knowing they will be matching up against a familiar opponent in the Frozen Four.In a press conference Monday, Johnson acknowledged how playing the Gophers has historically been tough.“Generally they’re pretty close games, they’re overtime games, you know, they’re end-to-end action,” Johnson said. “And for the people that show up, to get a chance to watch it on the stream line, similar to the previous five games this year — it will be entertaining.”Johnson remarked on his veteran team, noting that they have been in this position before.Larson: Badgers’ victory showcased complete team effort, what is needed to reach NCAA finalHad you walked into LaBahn Arena this weekend and not known that it was the NCAA Quarterfinal game, you would’ve Read…With only three freshmen, playing a familiar opponent always helps with the confidence of the team. However, when game time starts, it all comes down who can execute, and who will play to the strengths of their team.“You need to stay out of the penalty box and do a list of maybe four or five things,” Johnson said. “And if you’re able to check those off at the end of the game, you’ve probably given yourself a pretty good chance to win.”Johnson also reflected on two of his best players, Emily Clark and Annie Pankowski, and what they’ve done beyond the success of the program. Clark has been chosen to help defend Team Canada’s title in the World Cup of Hockey, and Pankowski has been chosen to represent Team USA.But with a national championship still the task at hand, Johnson has been very impressed with the way both Clark and Pankowski have been playing recently.“All of a sudden [Clark’s] feet are a little bit lighter, she is skating a little bit quicker,” Johnson said. “You want your big players to be good right now, and certainly both Emily and Annie have elevated themselves here as we got into the playoffs and got ourselves into a position for the game Friday night.”The Badgers will face the Gophers Friday, March 18 at 6 p.m. in Durham, New Hampshire, available on NCAA.com.
Comments Published on October 31, 2018 at 9:40 pm Contact Michael: firstname.lastname@example.org | @MikeJMcCleary Facebook Twitter Google+ Julio Fulcar rolled three times on his side into the right crossbar of the Virginia Tech goal. Seconds earlier, he sent a ball trickling just over the head of the Hokies goalkeeper, but overshot the goal. It was his second close try of the second half, he didn’t convert on either. Fulcar perched up his head and slammed his hand to the ground three times before he rose gingerly and pulled down on his jersey. The frustration washed over Syracuse, who ended its hopes of a conference tournament run hardly giving itself a chance.“We created chances and put them under a lot of pressure and made life very uncomfortable for a good Virginia Tech team and that’s the positive we take away from it,” McIntyre said. “But obviously disappointed to kind of bounce out and not have a chance to continue our ACC games.”Syracuse (7-6-4, 1-4-3 Atlantic Coast) fell, 3-1, in the first round of the ACC Tournament to Virginia Tech (10-5-3, 3-4-1). Though the Orange outshot the Hokies 23-11, mistakes plagues SU and gave Virginia Tech wide open chances. McIntyre said he still is “very optimistic” that the Orange will see their name to the NCAA Tournament field. Syracuse has the “quality and the talent” to play, he said, but now Syracuse is forced to wait.“We were punished for a poor first half,” McIntyre said.The Orange’s resurgence began in its last matchup with Virginia Tech. Following a double-overtime loss in its last matchup, SU was forced to rethink itself sitting at 3-4-1 as it entered the thick of its conference schedule. McIntyre revered the talent and intrigue of the Syracuse roster, it just had to put it together. The Orange ripped off three-straight wins to follow, including its first conference win in nearly two years to then-No. 1 Wake Forest. A road tie to then-No. 11 Louisville and a seven-goal domination of St. Bonaventure seemingly validated the “belief,” McIntyre said, the streak helped the Orange install. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut Syracuse’s season continued its ambiguity and a team that was thought to be changed — Syracuse freshman forward Hilli Goldhar said the Orange is “definitely a better team than the last time” it played Virginia Tech — reverted back to much of the same. Two ties and a loss dropped SU out of the top-25 ranking and put itself in a precarious position, traveling in the first round of the ACC tournament.The Hokies presented the Orange a challenge early on. Just 10 minutes into the game, Virginia Tech had broken into the Syracuse box several times In the 13th minute, Virginia Tech’s Nico Quashie received a through ball out in front of Kamal Miller. Miller caught up and wrestled the 6-2 forward away, who tumbled to the ground as Miller broke away with the ball. The chance was the beginning of an aggressive stretch for the Hokies, who pushed the ball up into the Syracuse box.In the 17th minute, Virginia Tech’s David Sanz finally broke all the way through and took a deflected corner off his chest. Before it hit the ground, he volleyed the ball into the back of the net. The rest of play that followed featured sloppy Syracuse passes, a lack of possession and tumbling pursuits of the ball from SU goalkeeper Hendrik Hilpert.Later the in the game, Hugo Delhommelle sent a free kick into the head of an SU player and Buchanan was free for the cleanup, but his strike sailed high and hit the top bar. It bounced up again and Buchanan was called for a penalty in the box, stopping the chance. When Sondre Norheim tried to pull off a routine header to Hilpert in the 55th minute, Virginia Tech’s Kristo Strickler cut the pass off in midair and gave Virginia Tech its second goal of the barrage, which made a bounceback “very difficult” for the Orange.“It’s one of those things,” McIntyre said. “It can happen.”Despite 21 shots in the second half, the Orange fell short of every opportunity as the Hokies pushed ahead.A late Ryan Raposo goal had the Orange scurrying to start again, but with five minutes remaining, with was too late. As Quashie raced ahead of Orange defenders in the final minutes of the game, he had a chance to ice a game that was long past SU’s grasp. He rolled a third Hokies goal to the right of Hilpert, backpedaled and grinned. “We were throwing guys forward,” McIntyre said of the final goal, “and got ourselves caught.”Again and again, as they have for the entirety of the season, Syracuse’s conference opponents continue to come out on top.