GRAND FORKS, N.D. --- Despite three second-period goals by the UND women's hockey team, the second-ranked Wisconsin Badgers skated to a 4-3 victory over the eighth-ranked Fighting Sioux this afternoon.
Wisconsin took the early lead in first period with two quick goals by Hilary Knight and Meghan Duggan and the Badgers would hang on to that lead until the final buzzer.
Jocelyne Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.) and Jordan Slavin (Erie, Colo.) scored the first two goals of the second period in attempt to keep the Fighting Sioux alive. A short-lived spurt of hope was knocked backwards when Wisconsin's Brianna Decker scored her second goal of the game to bring the Badgers lead back to two goals.
The lead would be cut back to one when Alyssa Wiebe scored her fifth goal of the season with a nice wrap-around to beat Wisconsin's Alex Rigsby with only seconds remaining in the period.
A scoreless third period allowed Wisconsin to hang on to the victory. Wisconsin out shot UND 32-28.
After a weekend off for the Sioux and the Badgers losing the top-spot in both national polls for the first time since mid-October, clearly the later team was the one that came into the game hungrier and ready to play today at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
With her own team making a line change early in the game, Knight was able to skate the puck from near her own zone all the way to the near faceoff circle by Sioux netminder Stephanie Ney and scored on a wrist shot. The goal came only 1:44 into the game and it didn't take long for the Badgers to add to it.
Duggan and Brianna Decker would also take advantage of Sioux defenders getting caught out of position adding a pair of goals to send the Sioux into the first intermission spotting the Badgers three goals and looking like it was going to be a long game for the home team.
The Sioux didn't hang their heads though as they rebounded with an impressive second period, outscoring the Badgers 3-1 to pull it within one goal heading into the third stanza.
Lamoureux scored the first with a deke that sent Wisconsin goaltender Alex Rigsby sliding to her right as she slid the puck into a wide-open opposite side of the net.
A mad scramble in front of the Badgers net lead to UND's second goal as Slavin was somehow able to redirect a rebound from Rigsby off a shot by Candace Molle (Anchorage, Alaska).
Although allowing Decker's second goal of the game at 18:58 of the period to regain a two-goal lead, Ney settled in to make 20 saves in the final two periods after allowing three goals on 10 shots in the first period.
The start was Ney's first of the year to open a series after beginning the season splitting time between in net between herself and Jorid Dagfinrud (Sarpsborg, Norway) and ends with her first loss of the season. She is now 4-1-2 and head coach Brian Idalski said they would decide who would get the start tomorrow morning.
Junior Alyssa Wiebe (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) scored her fifth of the season that would conclude the game's scoring with only 19 seconds remaining in the second period. She led the Sioux with two points (1g, 1a).
UND had a couple of opportunities to tie the game in the third period but after exerting a ton energy to get back into the game during the second period, it spent a costly amount of energy having to kill back-to-back penalties in the third period.
The Sioux would hold the Badgers 0-for-4 on the power play while going 1-for-3 themselves, but the early deficit proved to be too much.
The Sioux will look to rebound tomorrow as the two teams faceoff for game two of the series at 2:07 p.m.