Top-ranked Minnesota powers past No. 10 Wisconsin in weekend series
A pair of Finnish natives led No. 1 Minnesota to a 2-0 win against rival and 10th-ranked Wisconsin on Sunday. Senior Mira Jalosuo netted the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal in the third period, while fellow senior Noora Räty shutout the Badgers to garner the sweep for the Maroon & Gold.
After being denied goals for the first 1:40 of the power play, Minnesota’s second special-teams unit came on the ice for their opportunity at breaking through the wall that held them scoreless for over two periods. Junior Sarah Davis won the faceoff and shot the puck back to senior Becky Kortum. They exchanged the puck before swinging it around to Jalosuo at the left faceoff circle. She was waiting with her stick in the air and launched a missile into the upper left corner of the goal. Davis and Kortum were each credited with an assist.
Prior to the goal, the Maroon & Gold (18-0-0, 12-0-0 WCHA) bombarded Wisconsin’s goaltender Alex Rigsby in the first two periods, but Rigsby held strong and pitched a shutout through the first two periods up until Jalosuo’s goal at 9:14 in the third. It was the first time since Dec. 3, 2011 versus North Dakota that the Gophers had been held scoreless through the first two periods.
In the closing minute of play, Wisconsin (10-6-2, 6-6-2 WCHA) pulled Rigsby from the goal in hopes of evening the match, but junior Amanda Kessel sealed the Gopher victory with an empty netter with 10 seconds remaining in the game.
The win solidified the first Minnesota sweep of Wisconsin since the 2004-05 season (Jan. 29 and 30), which also happened at Ridder Arena.
The Badgers came out in the first period and outshot the Maroon & Gold 11-8, but Raty kept UW off the board.
In the following two periods, Raty faced just eight Wisconsin shots en route to garnering her seventh shutout of the season. The Gophers peppered Rigsby for 17 shots on goal in the second and another 14 in the third period. Senior Megan Bozek led the Gophers with eight shots on net while Kessel had six.
Raty now sits just six shutouts away from tying former Badger Jessie Vetter’s NCAA record of 39. The win was also the 92nd of her career, which puts her just eight back from matching former Mercyhurst goaltender Hillary Pattenden’s record of 100.