Opportunistic Wisconsin dumps BC
Prevost's goal sparks Badgers to spot in championship game
DULUTH, Minn. -- Friday’s first national semifinal game didn’t get off to the way top-ranked Wisconsin wanted.
Opening Women’s Frozen Four play against Boston College, the Badgers were heavily favored to earn safe passage into Sunday’s national championship game. Chances of that happening took a hit less than a minute into Friday’s tilt though when BC freshman forward Emily Field gave the Eagles a surprise 1-0 lead after only 57 seconds.
BC’s early dominance didn’t last long and Brittany Ammerman cancelled out Field’s goal by way of the Badger forward’s 12th tally of the season at 6:44 of the first period.
UW then took a lead of its own at 13:47 of the same frame, and it was arguably the biggest game-changing moment of the Badgers’ season.
With the Badgers trying to kill a hooking penalty to forward Karley Sylvester and BC struggling to break out of its own zone, UW forward Carolyne Prevost spotted an opportunity.
An Eagle defenseman bobbled the puck at the BC blue line, and when Prevost saw that, she pounced. The Badger senior was on the scene quickly before picking the blueliner’s pocket and racing in all alone on BC goaltender Corinne Boyles.
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Boyles made the first move, and Prevost took advantage, cutting left to the outside and slotting the puck home from close range for her 27th goal of the season.
“I saw [a BC defenseman] kind of fumble with the puck at the blue line and so I just tried to poke at it,” Prevost said. “And then I basically had [a path] from the blue line all the way in by myself.
“I was kind of panicking a little bit, but the goalie challenged me a little bit, so I was able to just move to the outside and then almost basically had an open net.”
Much more than Ammerman’s goal -- her first of two on the night -- Prevost’s tally set the tone for how the Badgers would play during the remainder of the game. UW then scored three more unanswered goals and the Badgers eventually ran out comfortable 6-2 winners.
Friday’s Frozen Four opener ceased to be a contest not long after Prevost’s goal. UW captain Hilary Knight scored the first of her two goals on the night 94 seconds into the second period, and Ammerman’s second of the night at 17:21 brought the score to 4-1 in favor of the Badgers.
Brooke Ammerman then upped the score to 5-1 in favor of the Badgers 7:46 into the third period to join Brittany as the first sister duo to each score goals in a single Women’s Frozen Four game.
BC freshman forward Alex Carpenter pulled a goal back for the Eagles at 9:54 of the final frame, but Knight’s second tally of the night at 16:23 restored UW’s four-goal cushion.
It was Prevost’s goal that really lit the fuse for the Badgers, though, and UW head coach Mark Johnson said he felt Prevost’s tally gave his team the oomph it lacked after Field’s quick opener.
“We were certainly excited about the opportunity to play in this game, but, unfortunately for us, Emily Field makes a nice play and we’re down 1-0, but there was a lot of hockey to be played,” Johnson said.
He continued: “Any time that you can score shorthanded, especially with the way the game started, instead of [still] being down 1-0, her goal makes it 2-1 for us and certainly, as I’ve seen over the last eight or nine years, when teams score in women’s hockey, people get excited. Especially when you score shorthanded, it’s a big goal and it creates energy within our bench.”
Prevost hasn’t been shy in front of opponents’ nets this season, and she has combined on a line with Brianna Decker and Brooke Ammerman to score 97 goals thus far in 2011-12.
Prevost’s tally on Friday, however, was one of the most important of all.