first_imgThe Wisconsin women’s hockey team hopes to maintain its top standing in the WCHA as it travels to play St. Cloud State this weekend.The Badgers are currently in a seven game winning streak, with an overall record of 26-2-2. The team is three wins, or two wins and a Minnesota loss, away from securing a first place finish in the WCHA.A difficult season for the Huskies (5-23-2) makes this series important for them as well. With a WCHA record of 4-20, SCSU is fighting to remain out of last place in the conference. Despite the Huskies’ losing record, UW is not overlooking its opponent.“I don’t care who you’re playing or where you’re playing at, they are going to get excited to play us,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “The tough thing with St. Cloud at the end of the season is that everybody is playing for something, so you look at them and they don’t want to end up in the basement.”The key to Wisconsin’s success this weekend, and going forward, will be its ability to maintain consistency. Last Sunday, Wisconsin showed its potential by playing a constant, up-tempo game and knocking in goals from all three offensive lines.This coming series against the Huskies will be critical to see if the Badgers can continue building off their success.“[Last weekend] was a big weekend for a lot of people to get back into their scoring routines, and down the stretch that is going to be really crucial to get scoring from all three lines,” senior forward and assistant captain Carolyne Prevost said.“That is what helped us win the national championship last year, our depth, so if we can keep rolling like that I think we are putting ourselves in a good position.”Last time the two teams met was at the end of November, when Wisconsin swept SCSU, winning game one 5-0 and game two 6-1.The Huskies will have their hands full in trying to defeat the Badgers. Shutting down the dominant UW offense will require a constant effort as five Wisconsin players have more than 20 points this season. Junior forward Brianna Decker powers the Badgers’ offense with 64 points and leads the nation with 29 goals.Adding depth is sophomore forward Brittany Ammerman. Ammerman stepped up big for UW the past two weekends, and is looking to continue her four-game point streak. Last weekend she recorded seven points off four goals and three assists.SCSU will also have to get the puck past UW sophomore goaltender Alex Rigsby, who leads the nation with a .949 save percentage and is tied for first with six shutouts.While past successes make UW hopeful for two more wins, it is not overlooking its opponent, especially one from a competitive conference. The Badgers focused on analyzing film from last weekend’s series against Minnesota State as they work on creating more scoring opportunities.“One thing about our league is the competition, from top to bottom, it is generally strong. So playing our schedule prepares the team going into the postseason,” Johnson said. “We don’t look at an opponent of being easy or hard, but at the preparation to see what they do and to give ourselves strategies and tendencies to make us successful.” Looking ahead, only two series remain in the regular season before the conference playoffs begin. While winning against SCSU remains the focus, preparations for the postseason also weigh on the team’s mind.Staying healthy and continuing to make minor adjustments is equally important for a team looking to make a run at another national championship.“The team is doing a great job right now in practice and really maintaining their work ethic,” Rigsby said. “If we come through and work hard I think everything will come together.”last_img