Badgers emotions run high

first_imgAccording to head coach Mark Johnson, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team was supposed to enjoy the 15-minute ceremony Friday commemorating their national championship from a year ago, and then focus at the task at hand, the Quinnipiac Bobcats. However, early on, the Badgers seemed to be fazed by the emotional ceremony, consisting of a video montage featuring last season’s game highlights and fireworks to set the stage for the unveiling of the team’s 2006 national championship banner. “I actually got pretty choked up, it just happened last year and it seemed to be over so fast and like coach (Johnson) says it doesn’t hit you right away and tonight it was pretty emotional,” UW senior captain Bobbi Jo Slusar said. Emotions were clearly running high Friday night as last year’s graduating seniors returned to the Kohl Center for the pre-game festivities. The Badgers were out of synch in the early going of the first period, not connecting on passes and missing the nets on a number of open shots. Badger players acknowledge that memories of last year’s championship were hard to put in the backdrop of their minds.”I would have to say we all had goose bumps,” UW sophomore goaltender Jessie Vetter said. “We always knew we were the national champs but it came right back to us and we were all like, wow, we really are the national champs.”The Badgers did finally get into a rhythm late in the first when Slusar let it rip from the blue-line past Quinnipiac goaltender Laura Brennan to give the Badgers the much needed 1-0 lead en route to a 3-0 victory.”Anytime you get the first goal it’s really important,” Johnson said. “Bobbi Jo (Slusar) connected on one, and I think it really settled us down a little bit.” The Kohl Center crowd was fitting for the occasion as the enthusiastic fans played a key role in getting the Badgers’ heads back in the game. “The fans were awesome and I tribute our game tonight to them because they were awesome and it was just great a feeling — I can’t really explain it,” Slusar said.Johnson, who has been downplaying the ceremony all week, finally recognized the excitement and emotions surrounding the festivities.”I thought they did a nice job with the video so it was just a nice 10 or 12 minutes sort of reflecting on what we did last year,” Johnson said. “Now we know for years to come and in the future there’s always a banner out there showing that we’re the 2006 national champions, so it’s something special and now the journey starts for another one.”Vetter’s Streak ContinuesAfter recording another shutout Friday, Vetter improved her consecutive shut streak to 260:42. Vetter, who wasn’t tested much in Friday’s contest, made some key saves following neutral zone turnovers. “Obviously my job is to not let any goals go in the net but I can’t focus on that [the streak],” Vetter said. “The defense did a good job of keeping the shots down, and I am sure they’re going to keep that up.”Vetter, who missed most of last year with mononucleosis, became the Badgers’ go-to goalie last season earning starts in both games of the 2006 Frozen Four. The Wisconsin native became the first goalie to record a shutout in the championship tournament en route to being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Perhaps Slusar said it best.”Jessie (Vetter) … she is just hot between the pipes right now.”last_img

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