Junior goaltender Alex Rigsby surrendered three goals in the two losses to Minnesota-Duluth.[/media-credit]The Badgers’ offense was nowhere to be found last weekend, as the Wisconsin women’s hockey team not only suffered their first two defeats of the season, but were shutout twice on the road against Minnesota-Duluth at AMSOIL Arena.The 2-0 and 1-0 defeats marked the first time since 2001 that the Badgers (3-2-1, 1-2-1 WCHA) have not managed a single score in back-to-back games. The series also marked the end of a six-game road trip for Wisconsin, one which included games against Minnesota State and Lindenwood.“The toughest thing in our business is to score goals,” head coach Mark Johnson said at his weekly press conference. “We were unfortunate this weekend to come away empty-handed both nights. … Their goalie was good, and we didn’t capitalize on a lot of opportunities, especially on the powerplay.”What the Badgers did get in Duluth were several difficult breaks. In Friday’s game, the Bulldogs’ (2-2, 2-2) first goal came off a botched clear that left an open net for UMD forward Brienna Gillanders. The second goal came after a solid poke check from Wisconsin’s goaltender, Alex Rigsby, which sent the puck behind her into the Badgers’ net. Saturday’s 1-0 defeat was equally disappointing, as UW failed to find a breakthrough despite multiple chances and 25 shots on goal.As Johnson pointed out, the other problem for the Badgers was the lack of scoring on powerplays. While the defense looked impressive, thwarting all eight UMD powerplays, the Wisconsin offense was another story. On Friday, the powerplay unit went 0-for-5, as Bulldogs’ goaltender Kayla Black turned aside all 31 shots. Saturday’s effort was similar as the Badgers yet again failed to capitalize, finishing 0-for-3 on powerplays. Despite their first two losses of the season, UW’s head coach said his team is not panicking.“Everything’s pretty upbeat; everything’s pretty positive,” Johnson said. “The team has played pretty well. Unfortunately, we just came away this past weekend with not scoring the goals we needed to win hockey games.”Instead, they are looking forward to their home opener and the first game ever played at LaBahn Arena. The puck will drop in the brand new 2,400-seat arena Friday at 7 p.m. against Bemidji State, and game two of the series will take place Sunday at 2 p.m.Located directly behind the Kohl Center, LaBahn Arena is a sign of the growth of the Wisconsin women’s hockey program over the last decade. The program has won four national titles since 2006 and also has six Frozen Four appearances over that period.In regard to the new arena and the home opener, Johnson had only high praise.“The future is bright for the young athletes to get a chance to work out of the facility,” he said. “There’s so many wonderful things about it. Now we get to open it up Friday night. It will be a special week. It will be a special night for the hockey program.”Some wonder how long it will take to make LaBahn feel like home for the team, as the Badgers posted a 19-2 record at the Kohl Center last year. Johnson noted that the team is beginning to adjust to its new home.The more we play, obviously, the more comfortable we’ll be,” Johnson said. “But our players, after spending a couple of weeks in the locker room, spending a couple of weeks practicing, those things are starting to come.”The Badgers will look to start turning their new house into a home against a Bemidji State team they beat in all four games last year, and currently sits at the bottom of the conference with a 1-3 overall record. However, there is no guarantee Friday’s game will end with a comfortable victory, as the Badgers only escaped the last meeting with a one-goal victory.But it may take until the first puck drop Friday night for Johnson to fully absorb the changing face of his program. “I had to pinch myself this morning as I drove down to work,” he said. “It’s a reality. It hasn’t really hit me yet.”That’s understandable since the women’s hockey team has called the Kohl Center home since 1998, sharing the venue with the men’s hockey team and both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.Once the game begins, Johnson believes that the “pinch myself” mindset will be gone and “reality will be with us Friday night.”And if they want to open their new arena on a positive note, the Badgers will be needing some goals as well.
After a disappointing end to their 2016-17 season, the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team is looking at an uphill battle during the 2017-18 season.For starters, UW lost arguably one of the most talented classes of players they ever had in 2017. After Ann-Renee Desbiens, Mellissa Channell, Jenny Ryan, Sarah Nurse, Sydney McKibbon and Mikaela Johnson all graduated in the spring, the Badgers would find themselves down their first line on the defensive side, and almost their entire second line on the offensive side.Not to mention, Wisconsin lost one of the best goaltenders ever seen in the program’s history. Desbiens made keeping pucks out of the net look easy, and as she kept racking up the honors, it almost looked impossible to replace her.While losing seven players might not seem that detrimental, the Badgers would be dealt another devastating blow when summer rolled around. Annie Pankowski and Emily Clark both got called up to play for their respective Olympic teams, Pankowski for the USA and Clark for Canada.Pankowski and Clark were the first and third highest scorers for the UW respectively, and their presence was a key element in transitioning this team into the 2017-18 season. With both of them gone, UW would need to rebuild their first two lines, which is rare in college hockey.These losses might explain why UW — who ended last season at No.1 in the WCHA — was ranked No.2 in the WCHA coaches preseason poll. In fact, coaches believed these losses would be so devastating that the Badgers would even lose the WCHA championship title, which they have held for the past three years.Women’s hockey: Badgers fall short but leave impressive legacyEven though the season came to a bitter end, the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team still has so much Read…The schedule this year also poses it’s own challenge, because the Badgers will head to Washington D.C. in November to play Northeastern and Boston University — two very strong East Coast teams. Wisconsin does not usually get the chance to play an East Coast team during the regular season, and this could pose a whole new threat for the Badgers.These games came into play due to the recent hole filled by the departure of the North Dakota women’s hockey team from the WCHA. After financial issues plagued the college, it was decided the university would cut their women’s hockey program.North Dakota was always a great opponent for the Badgers, and their loss is a devastating loss for the WCHA, who lost one of the most talented teams in their division. North Dakota was one of Wisconsin’s largest rivals in women’s hockey, and usually became a fearsome opponent during play-off time.With the absence of the North Dakota team, the WCHA needed to fill team’s schedule in any way that they possibly could, and one of the ways that they chose to do this was by opening up their regular season schedule to their East Coast counterparts. Wisconsin is playing two of the best East Coast teams when they go to D.C., making their schedule that much more challenging.With the absence of Pankowski and Clark, UW has a challenging year ahead of them. This year’s freshman class is one of the largest in UW history, and a majority of the roster this year consists of underclassman.Women’s hockey: Roque takes home Rookie of the Week honors at right timeThe University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team just keeps collecting regular season accolades as freshman forward Abby Roque earned Rookie Read…On top of this, Wisconsin also has some unusual changes to their schedule. Usually, Wisconsin has the honor of hosting rival and main competition Minnesota during the first half of the season, with the Badgers then traveling to Minneapolis during the second half of the season.This year, Wisconsin goes to Minnesota first, and the Badgers will end their season with the border battle. Another strange thing is how early this game happens in the season. The matchup between the two teams in Minneapolis is currently scheduled for the end of October, rather than the end of November as it usually is.Of course, one of the biggest changes this season is not on the schedule —it is on the ice. Desbiens was one of the greatest assets that Wisconsin had on its side, and trying to fill in her skates is not an easy job.Women’s hockey: Rookie netminder proves she can fill big skates of her predecessorsAs current University of Wisconsin women’s hockey netminder Ann-Renée Desbiens advances into her final season of eligibility, speculation arises as Read…Of course, Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson knew that this was a problem he was eventually going to have to deal with, and if there is one person who knows how to make lemonade out of lemons, it is Johnson. When Desbiens missed four games last season due to a concussion, Johnson was quick and getting then freshman netminder Nikki Cece in between the pipes so she could get some practical experience.Cece showed a lot of promise during her time in net for the Badgers, and even managed to gain her first shut-out during her short tenure as goaltender. It was clear Johnson knew what he was doing when he began recruiting these players almost two years ago.This year might be a rough one for Wisconsin, who will be a rather young team trying to learn as they begin their regular season. While it might be irrational to expect them to be as successful as the 2016-17 team was, there is a great chance this team will still pave the way for a successful season in 2017-18.
Alex Kimeli of Kenya managed to beat over 6000 Ghanaians on Friday to emerge as the champion of the 26th edition of the Accra Milo Marathon. He took home GHs 10,000 and products from Nestle Ghana LTD as his prize.The 27 year old made a time of 2 hours 25 minutes 42 seconds in 42.2km race which started from ‘The Point’ in Nungua barrier through the principal streets of Accra to the finishing point at the Alhaji Sly Teteh Park in Dansoman.Yandel Joseph of Ghana Police Service and Seth Nuamah Boadi of University of Education Winneba were awarded GHs 7.000 and GHs 5,000 for placing second and third respectively.In the female division, Elizabeth Bortsor of Ghana Police Service won the first position with a price of GHs 10,000 and products of Nestle Ghana LTD. Gifty Abbey of Ghana Prisons Service had GHs 7,000 after placing second, while Josephine Kwakye of Ghana Police Service went home with a price of GHs 5,000 for taking the third position.In under 15 category, which covered 5kms from New Times Cooperation to the same finishing point in Dansoman saw Mustapha Alhassan from the Ashanti Region being awarded a cash prize of GHs 1,200 and products from Nestle Ghana LTD for the first place while Seyram Sebgefia from the Volta Region and Philip Apuri from Upper East Region placed second and third and respectively received GHs 800 and GHs 500 and products from Nestle Ghana LTD.Sakat Lariba from the Upper East Region couldn’t hide her joy for winning the girls division with a price of GHS1, 200 and products from Nestle Ghana LTD. Jessica Amevor from Volta Region work hard to occupy the second position with a price of GHs800 and products from Nestle Ghana LTD. Sandra Sapei of Upper East managed to win GHs500 and products from Nestle Ghana LTD for placing third. According to the organizers, Voltic Ghana Limited will supply all the under listed winners mineral water for a year.In an interview with Asempa Sports, Madam Marilyn Agyeiwaa Ofori, Assistant Brand Manageress of Beverages in Nestle Ghana LTD, the organizers, said although they encounter some challenges, they were very impressed with every aspect of the event and promised to improve on it in next year’s edition.She added that they are planning to make provisions for all the winners to compete in other marathon competition around the world in order to showcase to the rest of the world what athletes who pass through the Accra Milo Marathon are made of.She noted that the under 15 category would be organized at the regional level, next year, to select about 20 runners from reach region before the grand finale in Accra for them to identify many talented runners from the grassroots to compete.This year’s edition recorded much controversy due to the intention of the many runners trying to cheat to their favor but the organizers did so well to prevent them.