Badgers preparing for Border Battle

first_imgThe last time the Wisconsin women’s hockey team lost a game, it came at the hands of Border Battle rival Minnesota. Since Feb. 11, the Badgers have won 18 straight contests, including a 3-0 win in the national championship game over the Golden Gophers.This weekend, it will be Minnesota visiting the Kohl Center to try to derail the 6-0 Badgers.”I’m sure the girls are quite excited,” Badgers coach Mark Johnson said of his team’s undefeated start during his Monday press conference. “My big thing is to make improvements, not just every game, but every weekend; so it’s nice to be 6-0, but we’ve still got a long way to go in the season. It’ll be nice this weekend having Minnesota come in because we’ll get tested.”The Badgers came away with a pair of 3-2 road victories last weekend against Ohio State. On Friday the Badgers led 3-0 and had to hang for the 3-2 victory, and on Saturday the Badgers came back to win after being down 2-1.”I wanted them to come out hard, I wanted them to compete; we got a little comfortable on Friday,” Johnson said. “I also saw a lot of positive things.”Part of the Badgers’ Friday struggles may have stemmed from early morning exams taken by several of the team’s players. With exams taking place throughout last week, three Badger players had to take tests at 7:45 a.m. Friday at Ohio State’s academic facility.Badgers Learn from Early Season GamesThough they’ve won all six of their opening games, the Badgers have played against contrasting styles of play. Johnson believes that all of the team’s games this season have served as an opportunity for the Badgers, and especially the freshmen, to learn and grow as a team.”I liked our games against Quinnipiac; they played hard, they competed hard, and we became a team because of those two games. In our games last weekend against St. Cloud, we had to find a way to win and we did that,” Johnson said. “At Ohio State, to have our first road trip down there, to get challenged, we grow as a team.”The six games featured all kinds of contests, including a comeback victory, a blowout, and an overtime win. Lawler, Zaugg to Join Johnson at Four Nation’sThis week the announcement was made that leading scorer Jinelle Zaugg and Erika Lawler will both join Johnson on the USA team in the Four Nation’s Cup taking place Nov. 7-11 in Ontario, Canada.”It will expose [Zaugg and Lawler] to a higher level,” Johnson said. “It’ll be a good experience … they’ll become better because of it.”Johnson, who will coach the squad, is confident that his role in the tournament will not interfere with his responsibilities at Wisconsin.”My number one priority is the team at hand here at Wisconsin,” Johnson said. “The way the league is structured, we take that week off in November because we have so many players in our league that participate [in international competition]. My two assistant coaches will be able to handle the four days I’ll miss in practice.”Johnson will also coach the USA women’s national team later on this year.last_img

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