Ninth-ranked Wisconsin completes sweep of No. 8 North Dakota
MADISON, Wis. -- No. 9 Wisconsin scored three goals in the second period, winning 3-1 to earn the sweep against No. 8 North Dakota on Sunday at LaBahn Arena. Alex Rigsby only allowed one goal in the game, coming off a five-on-three penalty-kill situation for the Badgers.
The sweep moves Wisconsin (12-6-2, 8-6-2-2 WCHA) within one point of Ohio State for second place in the WCHA. North Dakota (11-7-0, 8-6-0-0 WCHA) drops to fourth in the conference, four points behind the Badgers.
"It was a good sign that we came out of [Saturday] game with some confidence and some jump," head coach Mark Johnson said.
After a scoreless first period, UW's offense came out fast in the second period. Courtney Burke scored a power-play goal after picking up a loose puck from Madison Packer. Burke netted the goal, sneaking it past Shelby Amsley-Benzie's five-hole.
Two minutes later, Packer scored a goal of her own, going top shelf to put the Badgers up 2-0.
After another two minutes, the Badgers found themselves on a penalty kill, but Brianna Decker scored her second short-handed goal of the season. The play started when Katarina Zgraja blocked a shot in the defensive zone. Decker picked up the loose puck and skated into the offensive zone. She finished the play by cutting across the front on Amsley-Benzie and put the puck in the back of the net off her backhand.
"I couldn't be more proud of the team," Decker said. "We had a bunch of blocked shots and this is a big six points this weekend. It was a great team to beat right before the break started."
Wisconsin's defense was solid, killing six of North Dakota's seven power-play opportunities. Rigsby recorded 26 saves, including 11 on the power play, and her defense blocked 20 shots. Wisconsin's offense was more dominant in game two, as they outshot North Dakota 31-27.
The only goal the Badgers allowed came in the third period on a five-on-three power play for UND. Meghan Dufault scored the goal, after the Badgers were assessed a five-minute major for checking from behind and a two-minute minor for interference.
"We did a lot of good things on the penalty kill, the kids blocked a lot of shots, which is tough to do and we had a bunch of saves from Alex when we needed them," Johnson said.
In all, a total of 64 penalty minutes were called in the game, including checking from behind infractions, which carry a five-minute major and a 10-minute game misconduct.
Wisconsin went 1-for-8 on the power play, taking a total of 10 shots on the man advantage.