Clark, Pankowski lead No. 3 Badgers past Minnesota State

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(ISN) – MANKATO, Minn. — Led by freshmen Emily Clark and Annie Pankowski, the No. 3 Wisconsin women’s hockey team earned a 3-0 triumph against Minnesota State on Friday at the All Seasons Arena.

Clark tallied two goals in the triumph, while Pankowski lit the lamp in the third to put the game out of reach.

The Badgers (20-4-3, 15-4-2-0 WCHA) found the back of the net in the first period thanks to Clark. With only 16 seconds remaining on the power play, Clark punched in her seventh goal of the season to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead.

After a scoreless second, Clark found the back of the net 39 seconds into the third, firing a shot into the top right corner of the net. It marked Clark’s second multi-goal game, as she tallied two goals in her first collegiate game against Minnesota Duluth on Oct. 3.

“I thought Emily played one of her stronger games since Christmas break,” Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson said. “She seemed to have the puck a lot. She created a lot of opportunities not only for herself but for her teammates.”

Minutes later Pankowski lit the lamp to cap off the Badgers’ scoring, firing the puck between her legs after beautiful passes by Clark and Ammerman. Pankowski, the reigning WCHA Rookie of the Week, leads the Badgers in goals scored with 13 this season.

Clark ended the contest with a pair of goals and an assist, while Pankowski tallied a goal and an assist. Ammerman also recorded two assists in the victory, giving the redshirt senior 131 career points to pass Sis Paulsen for 12th on the Badgers’ all-time list.

“That line of Clark, Ammerman and Pankowski had four really good shifts to begin the third period,” Johnson said. “They created some chances and goals, and hopefully we can start tomorrow’s game the way we finished tonight’s game.”

Ann-Renee Desbiens earned her ninth shutout of the season, stopping all 13 shots she faced to improve to 17-4-3 this season. Her nine shutouts this season are tied for the fourth-most in program history.

“She didn’t get tested too much,” Johnson said. “She made a couple of nice saves tonight though. Sometimes these games are very challenging because it is easy to get distracted. But she was able to keep her focus for 60 minutes and was able to get the shut out.”

Wisconsin outshot Minnesota State (2-22-1, 0-18-1-0 WCHA) 53-13, marking the fourth time this year UW has tallied 50 or more shots on net.

“I think we definitely capitalized on our scoring chances,” Clark said. “That’s been an area we have been focusing on. The more we can get the puck to the net with purpose, the more we will produce.”

The Badgers finished the game 1-for-3 on the power play, while they killed their lone penalty of the night. Wisconsin has now killed 79 of its 82 penalties this season and the Badgers lead the nation in penalty killing with a .963 conversion rate.

UW and MSU wrap up their series on Saturday with a 3 p.m. contest in Mankato.