MINNEAPOLIS — As a senior, Baylee Wellhausen’s goal-scoring production hasn’t matched the level she reached last season.
The University of Wisconsin co-captain took a step toward closing that gap on Saturday with another big performance at Ridder Arena.
Wellhausen completed a hat trick with an empty-net goal to seal the top-ranked Badgers’ 4-1 victory over Bemidji State in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Face-Off semifinals.
Maddie Rolfes also scored, and Kristen Campbell made 22 saves for UW, which will play host Minnesota in today’s championship game. UW will play for its fourth straight WCHA playoff championship.
Wellhausen entered Saturday’s game with seven goals in 31 games after scoring 15 in 40 contests last season, which included four multiple-goal games.
She has five goals in three games at Ridder this season, including an overtime winner against Minnesota on Oct. 29.
“I think there’s something about it being Minnesota,” Wellhausen said. “It’s a huge rival for us, so playing in this rink is always an extra energy boost for myself.”
She netted her second collegiate hat trick with a goal in each period, most critically a short-handed score in the second that gave UW a 2-1 lead.
After the Badgers were called for having too many players on the ice, a Beavers player fell at the left point. That allowed UW’s Abby Roque to push the puck ahead to Wellhausen, who was streaking out of the zone.
On a breakaway, Wellhausen fired past goaltender Kerigan Dowhy to restore the Badgers’ lead.
“It was great — especially getting a short-handed goal,” Wellhausen said. “It’s a little bit of a dagger and kills their momentum a little bit off that power play. It felt so good to get that.”
Wellhausen also scored off a feed from Roque 41 seconds into the game.
But Emma Terres scored a power-play goal for Bemidji State (16-19-3) in the final minute of the first period to make it 1-1.
It was only the second power-play goal UW had allowed in nine games. Opponents were 1-for-12 in the previous eight contests.
Rolfes put the Badgers (30-3-2) up 3-1 in the third period with a sharp-angle shot from the right side on a rush that snuck under Dowhy’s pads.
Bemidji State 1 0 0 — 1
Wisconsin 1 1 2 — 4
First period: W — Wellhausen 8 (Roque, Gardner), :41. B — Terres 11 (Bergland, Beebe), 19:26 (pp). Penalties: Gardner, W, 17:43; Halluska, B, 18:47; Roque, W, 18:47.
Second period: W — Wellhausen 9 (Roque), 11:06 (sh). Penalties: Bench, W, 10:57; Beebe, B, 18:19.
Third period: W — Rolfes 5 (Rowe), 10:45; Wellhausen 10, 19:30 (en). Penalties: Bergland, B, 11:51; Kepler, W, 16:53.
Saves: B (Dowhy 7-12-8) 27; W (Campbell 6-10-6) 22. Power plays: B 1-for-3; W 0-for-2. Att. — NA.