Badgers still reap benefits despite humiliating Huskies

first_imgThose weren’t little orange cones on the Kohl Center ice sheet this past weekend, but for most of the series, the UW women’s hockey team skated around, past and through visiting St. Cloud State like it was only there for practice.However, much more than the final scores of the two games (10-0 on Friday night and 6-0 on Sunday afternoon) meant something to the Badgers.As St. Cloud State came in with the league’s worst record (0-22-1, 0-17-1-1), it was likely that No. 1 ranked Wisconsin would put some gaudy offensive numbers up against them.But to say that the weekend was a waste is probably false. The Badgers were able to work on some things and give several young players a great opportunity to play in game situations when normally they wouldn’t have the chance.“There is always stuff to work on. If it’s not putting the puck in the net, it’s your break out in the [defensive] zone or chipping it off the glass. There are always fundamentals that you can work on and skills that you can achieve in these games and really iron out because you don’t get the opportunity to do it in other games,” junior winger Hilary Knight said.The lopsided contests gave Wisconsin the opportunity to do a few things with their personnel as well. On Friday night, head coach Mark Johnson put freshman defenseman Kelly Jaminski at left wing on the fourth line.“I think sometimes, for young players, it’s okay to play other positions, especially for a defenseman to go up and maybe play forward to get an understanding of how to play that certain position,” Johnson said.One of the reasons that Jaminski was able to play wing was because sophomore defenseman Alev Kelter returned to the lineup now that the soccer season has ended, which gives the Badgers seven solid defensemen to choose from. Mark Johnson recognized the potential Jaminski possesses in the offensive zone despite her lack of experience.“I thought she was going to score there in the third period. She was on for one of our goals. It’s probably the first – I don’t want to say in her life but certainly in a long time – where she has had to play forward,” Johnson said.In the game on Friday, junior winger Carolyne Prevost appeared to tweak something in her back. The coaching staff and trainers elected to keep her out of Sunday’s game for precautionary reasons.“We held her out today. She probably could have played, but the one thing is when these kids travel overseas they get tired, you work with jet lag, you get nicks and bumps along the way. In a game where you can rest her and do some things with our trainer to get her prepared for Tuesday’s practice, we felt that was in the best interest,” Johnson said.Her absence paved the way for several young Badgers to get to play in situations that normally they wouldn’t.Freshman defenseman Laurel Miller got the nod at forward, and toward the end of Sunday’s tilt was able to play with none other than Hilary Knight.Knight did everything in her power to earn Miller a point in front of the home crowd.“I really wanted to get either Laurel Miller or Lauren Unser a goal, so we were working at that,” Knight said.The other player who Johnson put in a new situation was Breann Frykas, who he moved up a line to play with Kelly Nash and Mallory Deluce.“That’s good for her to get some ice time and create some more opportunities for her to play,” Johnson said.St. Cloud State likely isn’t the team that will ready the championship-hopeful Badgers for close games down the stretch, but the games did provide Wisconsin with, if nothing else, more confidence on the offensive end and some invaluable experience for the young players on the squad.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *