Badgers limp into break

first_imgGREGORY DIXON/Herald photoThis past weekend’s series was a disappointing one for the Wisconsin women’s hockey team. The Badgers (16-1-3) traveled to St. Cloud State to take on the Huskies (7-9-4), a team that the Badgers have dominated in the past. With a 28-4 record against St. Cloud going into the series, it seemed as though Wisconsin could expect another pair of victories.The Badgers, however, came away winless and picked up two ties against their conference opponent. The play of the Badgers was particularly disappointing during Saturday’s game, when Wisconsin coughed up a three-goal lead in the third period and finished with a 3-3 tie. The Huskies’ tying goal came with just 19 seconds left in the period.In all fairness, though, the Badgers have played a lot of hockey so far this season. Having played 20 games in two-and-a-half months, the team has received just one weekend off. Some players weren’t even able to relax that weekend, as the Four Nations Cup was held during that break.UW head coach Mark Johnson coached the American team, which featured UW forwards Erika Lawler and Jinelle Zaugg, as well as the Badgers’ undergraduate assistant Carla MacLeod. The Badgers’ team captain Bobbi-Jo Slusar played for team Canada, which won the Gold medal in the tournament.It’s understandable that the team might be worn out after this long stretch, especially now that the semester is coming to a close and players are waiting for the holidays.”We might have starting thinking a little ahead of ourselves,” Lawler said. “Looking toward break and everything … I think we got complacent and just kind of laid back and just thought that we didn’t have to work that much … I think that it was a good learning experience for us.”Johnson implemented a creative solution to make sure the players got their practices done while at the same time relieving some stress. Johnson divided the team into fourths and started a tournament between the individual groups, complete with a draft, trades and different uniforms.”Physically, we’re just going to have to keep working really hard on the ice,” Lawler said. “I think this break is really good for us, and when we get back here, we have to get back into gear again.”The MikkSenior defender Meaghan Mikkelson is having quite a season for herself, recording four goals and 12 assists. The St. Albert, Alberta, native is tied for first in the conference in points recorded by defenders and is one of the Badgers top five scorers.She has also been crucial to the success of Wisconsin’s powerplay, which leads the WCHA, converting on more than 30 percent of their opportunities.Most of Mikkelson’s production has been on the powerplay, with three of her four goals and nine of 12 assists coming with the man advantage.Considering her family’s athletic background, it is no surprise she has succeeding at the collegiate level. Jim McFadden, Mikkelson’s great uncle, played in the NHL. In 1948, McFadden won the Calder Trophy, which is awarded to the best rookie, in addition to winning the Stanley Cup in 1950 while playing with the Detroit Red Wings.Meaghan’s father, Bill Mikkelson, also played in the NHL during the 1970s, spending four seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders and Washington Capitals.In the suburbs of northern Edmonton, Mikkelson starting playing at an early age with her younger brother Brendan, who was drafted 31st overall by the Anaheim Ducks in 2005, and currently plays for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL.”Having my dad play, that was a big thing for me to have, having him as a role model,” Mikkelson said. “It was just what we did, I didn’t think of it as being different.”last_img read more