Badgers head to Mankato to take on struggling Mavericks

first_imgAfter a late season nonconference series, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team heads on the road to face struggling Minnesota State, who still has yet to record a conference win.Badgers’ freshman forward Annie Pankowski, who notched her second career hat trick this past weekend against Clarkson, will face the team that gave her the first one. Pankowski led the Badgers (19-4-3 overall, 14-4-2 WCHA) with four goals in the previous series against the Mavericks in mid-November.The Badgers outscored Minnesota State (2-21-1, 0-17-1) 16-2 in their last series at LaBahn Arena and want to continue to improve down the final stretch.“Now you have eight games left, and the main thing is to maintain what you’ve done the past three weeks and try to make some improvements in some areas where you need to improve and get yourselves ready for the playoffs,” Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson said.Despite Minnesota State having a difficult season, Wisconsin cannot take them lightly.“I think if we start to worry about the opponent and what they are doing, or worrying about individual play, that could throw us off,” sophomore Sydney McKibbon said. “But if we stick to our game, we will be fine.”The familiarity of playing a conference opponent again helps the Badgers come out confident and strong.“We obviously know them better because we played them before and we know their style,” freshman Maddie Rolfes said. “We know what to expect, so we can go in harder and not timid because we know how they play.”A winless conference season thus far could make the Mavericks come out fired-up for the third-ranked Badgers, but Wisconsin will try not to let an upset-minded team throw them off.“Focusing on ourselves and looking at them as if we are playing Minnesota or Clarkson, or anyone else,” McKibbon said. “They are no different and we have to come out ready to play Friday night.”This last stretch of games, no matter who the opponent, will be vital in getting the Badgers prepared for a potential playoff run. For Wisconsin the goal is to win all of the games, but the most important aspect is improving in all areas to make a complete team.The puck drops at 7 p.m. Friday night for the series opener in Mankato, and 3 p.m. Saturday to close out the series.last_img

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