Senior day send-off leaves Badgers happy

first_imgWith all of the playoff uncertainties surrounding the Wisconsin women’s hockey team, Sunday’s senior day game could be the last in the Kohl Center in the careers of four UW seniors. Should that be the case, those seniors certainly went out on a positive note.Wisconsin bounced back in the series finale against Minnesota State, winning 6-0 after losing Friday’s meeting 5-3.On a day where teammates, coaches, friends and family honored all the effort the seniors had given over the years, the small group of seniors responded with standout performances.Senior captain Jasmine Giles tallied two goals and an assist while forward Kyla Sanders recorded another goal and an assist herself. Senior goaltender Alannah McCready, meanwhile, did away with the Maverick offense in registering her fifth career shutout.“It was nice to see people rewarded for years of effort, time and sweat,” interim head coach Tracey DeKeyser said. “I’m just really happy it was able to end this way at the Kohl Center for our players, for the fans — a lot of families travel to see us. It was a textbook day for senior day.”After the Badgers experienced a disappointing finish on Friday, in which the Mavericks jumped out to a 3-0 advantage 12 minutes into the first period, the entire Wisconsin crew strengthened its play, as the underclassmen were motivated not to spoil the day for the seniors.Freshman Alev Kelter knocked back a goal just three minutes into the game to give Wisconsin an early lead. Though the goal was the first of her career, Kelter was just happy to help make the day special for her senior teammates.“We love them so much, and we just want to keep this momentum going into next week against Minnesota,” Kelter said.The Badgers held the Mavericks to 17 and 14 shots on goal in the weekend series, though they allowed five goals in the first game before recording a shutout in the finale. DeKeyser credited MSU’s goals to a few defensive breakdowns and shots that hit sticks and redirected.On Sunday, however, the rest of the defense upstaged Minnesota State’s offense. McCready could not take all the credit as her teammates limited shots on goal and prevented offensive rebounds.“They were really solid today,” she said. “We had really good breakouts, and if I had a rebound they were clearing it out right away, so that always helps out a lot.”In honoring the seniors, the Badgers’ camaraderie was aglow and as the Badgers continued to increase their lead, other players who do not normally receive much playing time got the call and increased the team’s energy.“There was a lot of good chatter on the bench. They were encouraging, and they were all happy,” DeKeyser said. “They were all equally happy when we had players that don’t normally see much ice time got a couple shifts here and there. It was good to see them working with each other and be[ing] happy for one another.”Sunday’s game also displayed a preview of what is to come of the Badgers in the future, as two freshmen recorded goals.Sanders’ goal in particular was a mark on how far she and her freshman prot?g?, Kelter, have come this season as Sanders redirected a shot from Kelter for the team’s third score.“She’s my mentor so it’s good to have that,” Kelter said. “We get buddied up — each player has a buddy — so to have that little connection going we were super pumped about that.”After Friday’s loss, the win on Sunday was crucial in the efforts to clinch one last home series for the playoffs.The Badgers now find themselves tied for third place with St. Cloud State and one point ahead of Bemidji State. Whether the seniors and the rest of the Badgers will return for one last homestand will be decided next week against No. 2 Minnesota in the regular season finale.While Giles — who recorded her 100th career point on Sunday — is determined to secure a favorable playoff seed, she would rather not think of it as a matter of whether she will play in the Kohl Center one last time or not.“I don’t want to think about it that muchl if I do it’ll just make me sad,” she said. “I just want to remember the great times we had out here — the Harvard game is something I’ll never forget, [and] the Dartmouth game we played.“Just so many wins here, so many great memories, great goals.”last_img

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