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Vetter saves day; UW survives scare

first_imgFour overtimes, 127 minutes and 9 seconds. That was the marathon that the Wisconsin women’s hockey team endured before finally registering a goal, sending the Badgers to a 1-0 victory over Harvard and the Frozen Four.In all likelihood, no one expected the goaltending duel that took place Saturday night. Although both Wisconsin and Harvard have two of the best goaltenders in the nation — the Badgers’ Jessie Vetter and the Crimson’s Brittany Martin — both teams also featured prolific offenses. With Wisconsin averaging more than four goals per game and Harvard leading the nation in that category, the 5,125 Badger fans in attendance expected a fair amount of offense, not a defensive standoff.”The kids were working hard and obviously fatigue started to come into play probably the middle of the third overtime, but I just think it’s great for women’s hockey,” UW head coach Mark Johnson said. “We had a nice crowd here tonight. They were very entertained. Obviously, the party went a little longer than we thought it was going to go, but we’re really excited.”Despite the defensive display, there were still plenty of opportunities for both teams. Wisconsin had a golden opportunity while shorthanded in the first period of regulation, when the Badgers had a 2-on-1 breakaway. The rush came up empty after the puck sailed over the open net.Harvard had an opportunity of their own in the second period, when the Crimson’s leading point scorer, Julie Chu, had a wide-open net to shoot at after Vetter left a healthy rebound. Crashing the net, Chu was unable to get her stick on the puck.The two teams traded scoring chances throughout the game, but remained scoreless until Wisconsin’s junior forward Jinelle Zaugg finally netted the game-winning goal 7 minutes into the fourth overtime.”[Sara] Bauer gave me a pretty pass, and I don’t really remember much after that, to tell you the truth,” Zaugg said of the goal. Zaugg summed up her feelings after ending the game in just one word: relief.The lack of goals in the game can certainly be attributed to Vetter and Martin, who faced a combined 103 shots. Even in defeat, Martin was the star of the game, turning away 67 shots before finally allowing Zaugg’s goal.”[Martin] played really well tonight,” Vetter said. “I was just glad I was on the other end with thirty-something [shots], but we kept peppering her [with shots].”After the game, Zaugg had some high praise for Harvard’s goaltender. “Martin played a great game, and she’s got a really good glove,” Zaugg added. “We tried to keep going for the glove and she made a lot of great saves. That was very frustrating, but I think that a lot of the frustration came from fatigue.”The officiating played a major role in the game as well. In the first period, UW freshman forward Meghan Duggan was skating toward Harvard’s net when it appeared as though she was pushed into Martin as the puck crossed the goal line. The apparent goal was overturned and Wisconsin instead received a penalty for goaltender interference.Another goal for the Badgers was overturned late in the first overtime period, this time due to a possible early whistle by the referees. A pileup in front of Harvard’s net prompted officials to whistle the play dead, despite the fact that the puck was still loose and eventually found its way into across the goal line. The game was similar in many respects to last season’s quarterfinal game against Mercyhurst, where the Badgers played into the second overtime period before Tia Hansen netted the game-winner for a 2-1 victory.Next weekend Wisconsin will head to the Frozen Four in Lake Placid, N.Y., to take on St. Lawrence in the semifinal matchup. For now, however, the Badgers can relax knowing they’ve made one more step toward a second consecutive national championship.last_img read more