MADISON, Wisc. - Hilary Knight scored the game-winning goal in the third period in front of a record-breaking crowd at the Kohl Center on Saturday night. In their third annual "Fill the Bowl" game, the Badgers set the new NCAA single-game attendance record, as 12,402 fans watched Wisconsin shutout Bemidji State in the 1-0 game.
"It says a lot about the city and the people in Madison," head coach Mark Johnson said. "They are willing to come out and support and got entertained with a pretty good hockey game tonight. Part of it is that we raised $12,000 for Second Harvest Food Bank and you thank Becker Law offices for giving us the opportunity and donating the money to a worthy cause. It's the community and the people that support this event and hats off to people that came to this event and helped out."
With the win, Wisconsin becomes the only team this year to gain the season sweep over Bemidji State. The Badgers improve to 24-2-2 (18-2-2-1 WCHA) on the season, while the Beavers are now 14-12-3 (8-12-2 WCHA).
Brittany Ammerman set up the lone goal for the Badgers as she battled for control of the puck in the corner before getting it out to Knight, who was sitting on the goal line to the right of BSU's goaltender, Zuzana Tomcikova. Knight found an opening and fired the puck five-hole for the first and only goal of the game.
Alex Rigby came up big once again for Wisconsin making 28 saves in the team's eighth shut out win of the season. Tomcikova made 32 saves for Bemidji State while conceding the lone goal.
"She's been consistent all year," Johnson said of Rigsby's play. "The first game up until tonight she has been strong. When we bend she makes sure we don't break. Different points of the night she came up with some good saves, and she did a great job to keep the shut out. I'm very pleased for how she played tonight and how she's played this season."
The game started off fast, mirroring last night's game. The two teams continued the back-and-forth play, each finding good opportunities on the goal. Wisconsin tested Tomcikova firing 18 shots on the net in the first period alone.
Despite the even play, the Badgers had a shot at the lead early in the second period when Madison Packer found the back of the net on a breakaway play. However, the goal was overturned as play had stopped in result to Tomcikova's mask coming off prior to the shot.
Wisconsin continued to fight for control of the puck, but the Beavers found a way to out-shoot UW, 12-8 in the period.
Both teams came out strong in the third, but the Badgers were the first on the board with Knight's goal at the 12:22 mark. Wisconsin's defense, led by big saves from Rigsby, held off the Beavers down the stretch coming out on top, 1-0.
"I think there was a lot of energy tonight," Rigsby said. "I played pretty aggressive tonight and didn't want to give them any opportunities. Our defense did a really great job picking up sticks. Our forwards did a great job also."
The Badgers return home next weekend to host Minnesota State on Friday and Sunday, Feb. 3/5. Both games start at 2 p.m. at the Kohl Center.