Minnesota takes down the Badgers at home, vault into first place

From the drop of the puck, it was apparent that the Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team was not going to let Wisconsin get away with another win at Ridder Arena. The Gophers dominated the pace of the game and didnâÄôt look back as they recorded the 4-2 win, boosting them over Wisconsin in the conference standing to No. 1, as they collected their first win over the Badgers at home since 2005. âÄúThis was a tremendous win for us,âÄù coach Brad Frost said after the game, âÄúWe came out and started very strong and were able to push the pace.âÄù And that they did. Minnesota (24-3-2 overall, 19-2-2, Western Collegiate Hockey Association) jumped out early, as freshman Jocelyne Lamoureux netted her first of two goals on the night just 1:27 into the first period. The Gophers continued to dominate after taking the lead pressuring the Badgers (24-2-3, 18-2-3) and making things difficult for who Frost called âÄúarguably the best goalie in the world,âÄù Badgers goaltender Jessie Vetter. Lamoureux said the Gophers did everything they needed to to beat Vetter. âÄúWe did a good job of throwing the puck on net,âÄù Lamoureux said. âÄúIf she canâÄôt see it, she canâÄôt stop it.âÄù Minnesota, however, did have the help of some lucky bounces and what Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson said, âÄúsome plays that you just donâÄôt see happen that often.âÄù MinnesotaâÄôs second goal, courtesy of sophomore forward Emily West looked to have bounced right off of her shin and into the net as she along with Lamoureux barreled down the ice toward the net, though she said she barely got a piece of it with her stick. Regardless, one thing Minnesota didnâÄôt need any lucky breaks with, was defense. The Gophers were dominant in keeping the Badgers from getting into any kind of groove and it was very seldom, in the first half especially, that Wisconsin was able to put together consecutive strong offensive plays. âÄúTime and space is key in hockey,âÄù Lamoureux said. âÄúAnd we werenâÄôt giving it to them.âÄù This win, though important as it vaulted the Gophers into first place in the WCHA standings for the first time since WisconsinâÄôs only other loss of the season to Minnesota Duluth on January 10, wonâÄôt matter all that much if they canâÄôt come away with at least one point tomorrow. Minnesota could put a conference title into its own hands with a win, essentially giving them a WCHA championship if they can win their final four games against teams that it is already 4-0 against this season. âÄúWe talked to everyone and they know how good the win feels right now,âÄù Frost said, âÄúBut they also know a sweep would feel better.âÄù