MADISON, Wis. — No. 1 Wisconsin earned the shootout victory against No. 4 Minnesota on a goal from sophomore Brianna Decker after battling for a 2-2 overtime tie at the Kohl Center in front of 2,541 fans Friday night.
The Badgers (23-2-2, 17-2-2-2 WCHA) outshot Minnesota (18-6-2, 13-6-2-1 WCHA) in dominating fashion 48-25 in a game that saw seven penalties and plenty of quality offensive chances for both teams. Wisconsin went 1-for-4 on the man advantage while holding Minnesota scoreless on each of its three power plays.
Freshman goaltender Alex Rigsby moved to 16-1-2 on the year, making 23 saves along with one in the shootout. Minnesota’s sophomore netminder Noora Raty is now 17-4-2 with the tie but was unable to stop Wisconsin in the shootout, which gave the Badgers an extra point in the league standings.
Decker clinched the shootout victory for Wisconsin when she gave the team a 3-1 lead as the first shooter of the third round. The sophomore center beat Raty on her left side and then flipped the puck top shelf for the win.
With the 2-2 tie, Wisconsin extends its unbeaten streak to 13 games. The tie also extends a department-wide unbeaten streak in the Kohl Center, as the men’s and women’s basketball and hockey teams have not lost at home in 24 consecutive games.
Senior Meghan Duggan led the Badgers with two points on one goal and one assist, extending her program-record point streak to 23 games. Freshmen Sarah Davis and Kelly Terry each picked up two points for Minnesota as well.
Duggan put the Badgers up 1-0 just 2:08 into the first period and 47 seconds into UW’s first power play of the game. Raty made a pad save on a shot coming off the stick of sophomore Stephanie McKeough from the blue line, and the puck was redirected toward a streaking Duggan, who was able to backhand the puck past Raty into the net.
Minnesota came out strong in the second period and quickly evened the score at the 1:31 mark. Sophomore Sam Downey ripped a shot from the point that was deflected past Rigsby by Davis who was waiting in front of the net.
The Badgers answered with 5:14 left to play in the period as senior Mallory Deluce netted her fifth goal of the season to give Wisconsin a 2-1 lead. Duggan got the puck along the boards and left it for Decker, who found Deluce cutting through the slot. Deluce’s one-timer beat Raty under her right pad for the score.
It took just 1:16 into the third period for the Gophers score the team’s second game-tying goal of the night. Davis won an offensive-zone faceoff to Rigsby’s right and poked the puck through Deluce’s legs before regaining possession. She then sent the puck through the slot to Terry, who slid it past Rigsby for the goal.
Wisconsin held off late attacks by the Gophers and regroup for one last offensive surge in which Knight dropped a pass back to a trailing Duggan, whose shot rang off the post with just 18 seconds left in regulation.
The offense continued into overtime as both teams saw multiple scoring opportunities in the five-minute period. Wisconsin led Minnesota in overtime shots 5-4 though neither team could find the back of the net. Overtime ended with the score locked at 2-2, and the teams went to a shootout to earn an extra point in the WCHA standings.
All three Badgers scored in the shootout, beginning with junior Brooke Ammerman, who beat Raty glove-side for the first tally in the shootout. After Minnesota freshman Amanda Kessel’s attempt was stopped by Rigsby, Duggan was able to flip the puck top shelf for the second shootout goal.
Junior Sarah Erickson gave Minnesota their only shootout tally as she beat Rigsby on her left side. Decker then put the shootout away with her goal in the final round.