MADISON, Wis. – No. 1 Wisconsin used a five-goal second period to secure an 8-4 win and the series sweep against visiting No. 8 North Dakota in front of 3,783 fans at the Kohl Center Sunday afternoon. Ten Badgers recorded points, led by sophomore Brianna Decker’s four-point effort.
The Badgers honored their six seniors in a ceremony before the game, and the team accepted the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season trophy after the game. The game marked the final regular season game at the Kohl Center for seniors Mallory Deluce, Anne Dronen, Meghan Duggan, Kelly Nash, Carla Pentimone and Geena Prough.
“I like the way we started. A lot of things going on, a lot of distractions but we came out and scored a couple quick goals, especially the second one on the power play,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “It was good. It was a good game for a lot of reasons. When it got to 8-3 it was pretty much over, you just hope nobody gets hurt. Any time you get eight goals, you should win it.”
Duggan matched Decker’s two-goal performance and added an assist for three points. Sophomore Stefanie McKeough and freshman Madison Packer each tallied two assists as well.
Junior Hilary Knight extended her current point streak to 16 games with two points on one goal and one assist.
Sophomore goaltender Becca Ruegsegger made 23 saves to improve to 9-1-0 on the season. North Dakota’s Jorid Dagfinrud made 29 saves and allowed six goals in 53:09, and Stephanie Ney allowed two goals in net over the last 6:51 of the second period.
Freshman Brittany Ammerman opened the scoring 3:17 into the game, and Duggan put Wisconsin ahead 2-0 with her first of two power-play goals just 25 seconds later. North Dakota’s Stephanie Roy then cut the Badgers’ lead to one at the 6:57 mark of the opening frame.
Wisconsin responded with five goals in the second period, as sophomore Breann Frykas, junior Brooke Ammerman, Knight, Duggan and Decker found the back of the net. Duggan’s power-play tally at 13:09 proved to be the game-winner.
North Dakota also solved Ruegsegger twice in the second period to move the second-period goal total to eight tallies. The Badgers held a 7-3 lead after two periods.
“North Dakota played harder [today],” Johnson said. “Obviously after Friday night’s game, if you put yourself in the coach’s shoes, they’re going to come out and compete a little bit harder, and play with a little bit more urgency than they played with Friday night. They have a lot of pride and they want to win the hockey game.
“They’re still playing for a lot of things in regards to trying to move up in the standings and get ahead of somebody. Certainly in the bigger picture they’re trying to get some points, so if they came back today and beat us, that’d help their situation quite a bit. However, we were able to get off to a quick start. We had a couple hiccups on some line rushes in the second period, but we responded in a positive way instead of coming in at 5-3, it was 7-3 and that’s a big difference.”
Decker added her second goal of the game at 7:13 of the third period, and UND’s Mary Loken pushed the puck past Ruegsegger as time expired to close out the 8-4 Badger win.
Wisconsin outshot North Dakota, 37-27, after being outshot 12-10 in the first period. The Badgers were 2-for-4 with the man advantage, and the Fighting Sioux finished 1-for-2 on the power-play.