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Wisconsin Athletics | February 19, 2017

No. 1 Badgers skate to 1-1 tie with No. 4 Golden Gophers

  Senior Ann-Renée Desbiens saved 34 of the 35 shots she faced.

MINNEAPOLIS – It was déjà vu for the No. 1 Wisconsin women's hockey team on Saturday. For a second-straight week UW earned a 1-1 tie with a top-five team as the Badgers and No. 4 Minnesota fought to a draw at Ridder Arena.

Senior Sarah Nurse, who scored the lone goal during UW's 1-1 draw with No. 2 Minnesota Duluth last Saturday, tallied the game-tying goal for the Badgers (27-2-3, 22-2-3-3 WCHA) against the Golden Gophers (23-5-4, 19-4-4-2 WCHA) with 6:25 left in the third to force the tie in the third Border Battle of the season.

"Whenever we play Minnesota it's definitely an exciting game," Nurse said. "There's a lot of pride on the line, so when we get up for these games you just want to win. You want to get pucks to the net and you are really, honestly trying your absolute best to get pucks to the net. So it's just like any other game but you're more excited."

In the shootout, a UW defenseman stepped up once again as senior Jenny Ryan scored the winning strike in the fifth round to give the Badgers a 2-1 shootout win and the extra point in the league standings. Ryan's shootout-winner came a week after freshman blueliner Mekenzie Steffen won UW's shootout with UMD in the 12th round.

"The last one we went through 12 rounds so I personally just wanted it to end before that," Ryan said. "(Associate head coach) Dan (Koch) told me I was going right after they scored and I kind of started freaking out but then Nurse went and took a little bit of the pressure off me and Ann stopping the puck right before I went took a lot of pressure of me too."

Senior Ann-Renée Desbiens saved 34 of the 35 shots she faced and stopped four of the five shooters she encountered in the shootout.

"She played well," Johnson said. "She only let one in on a broken-type play where a girl is falling down and the puck sneaks underneath you but I thought she did a good job. The penalty killers did an excellent job of defending and blocking and doing things necessary to keep them off the scoresheet."

The two Border Battle rivals were scoreless for 39 minutes, 58 seconds until Minnesota's Nicole Schammel beat Desbiens on a broke play to put Minnesota on the board with just two seconds remaining in the second frame.

Heading into the final frame, the two team's generated plenty of offensive chances, but to no avail.

As regulation wound down, it was Nurse who finally broke the seal when the senior fired a wrist shot past Minnesota goaltender Sidney Peters to tie things up with less than 10 minutes left in the game.

"When I came in I wanted to go far-side," Nurse said. "I knew she's been pretty good down low short-side, so I wanted to go far-side and I think she was screened a little bit."

With the tally, Nurse has 19 goals on the season along with 20 assists for 39 points.

With neither team able to pull ahead as the third period came to a close, the border rivals headed into overtime. 

Despite the Badgers dominating play in extra time, UW wasn't able to find the back of the net in overtime and the game officially ended in a shootout.

After last weekend's 12-round shootout win against Minnesota Duluth, the Badgers were well-versed for what was to come next. 

Neither team was able to score during the first three rounds before Minnesota's Megan Wolfe snuck one by Desbiens in the fourth round. Nurse had to score to keep the shootout going and she delivered, rifling a shot top-shelf past Peters to force the shootout into a fifth round. 

After Desbiens stone-walled Kelly Pannek on the next shot, Ryan faked to her forehand, pulling Peters out of position before bringing the puck to her backhand and sliding it over the goal line for the win.

"It was good for her," Johnson said. "She's composed, poised, and being a senior she'll remember that one for a while I bet."

UW and Minnesota wrap up the regular season on Sunday with a 3 p.m. contest that will be nationally televised on Big Ten Network.

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