Women’s hockey squad plays down to lesser opponent

first_imgIf there is one thing consistent about the Wisconsin women’s hockey team, it’s the fact it has continually played to the level of its opponents.Currently ranked sixth nationally, the team has split four of its five series this season and seems unable to get back to playing “Wisconsin hockey.”With losses to teams such as Robert Morris and Bemidji State — teams not even ranked — Wisconsin cannot seem to hit the ice and keep firm control of the game. Despite the surprising losses to those teams, the Badgers have shown what they really are capable of with a sweep of No. 1 Minnesota. It is just a matter of making the high level of play constant.UW senior forward Kyla Sanders has noticed the different energy from UW but is positive it has to keep working hard to eventually reach its old high level of play.“We plan on playing Wisconsin hockey– we just have to go out there and set the pace,” Sanders said. “I don’t think that’s happening yet. I think we’re going out and playing at their level.”After splitting the series last weekend with Robert Morris, Wisconsin faced a similar team in Wayne State last night. Both teams use a similar style of defense, putting five players in front of the net and blocking as many shots as possible. While it’s predictable, Wisconsin was unable to control the game and show why it is ranked No. 6 in the nation. UW sophomore forward Brooke Ammerman realizes the defensive styles of teams like Wayne State are tough to face, but the Badgers have to play intelligently.“We just have to adjust and take time, because you know if people are going to throw five people in front of the net, it’s going to be tough,” Ammerman said. “We just have to score goals when we need to score goals, and we need to play smart defensively and not watch the puck as much as coach says, and eventually it’s got to click.”Although each loss or tie — especially the unexpected ones — is hard to take, the team tries to use them as learning experiences but also move forward and focus on the next game.“Our plan every day is to go out and win. That’s our goal,” UW junior defenseman Geena Prough said. “As long as we’re working hard every day, and we’re still getting our shots and working as a group collectively, [the wins are] going to come. … I think we just have to leave this game in the past. Obviously, we have to learn from it, though. We just have to come back tomorrow and be ready to work. Things happen in the past, and we’ve got to leave that at that and just come out, start fresh tomorrow and just focus on doing the little things right.”Despite what the season has looked like so far and the Badgers’ inability to rise above their opponents’ level of play, the team is confident if it keeps adjusting, eventually it will be playing Wisconsin hockey as it has been known over the past four years.Interim head coach Tracey DeKeyser is confident in their potential and believes they just need to keep working hard.“On paper, we have great potential. We just can’t get frustrated, because we’d be our own worst enemy,” DeKeyser said. “We need to figure out a way to help one another and build one another to get through this. … It’s just doing a lot of scoring drills, how to crash the net, how to support one another [and] how to finish. It’s just not bouncing in our favor unfortunately right now.“It takes 60 minutes, not just one goal in the first 10 minutes of the game — that’s what we need to do, we need to figure how to play a full 60 minutes.”last_img

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