VERONA, Wis. -- Behind four goals from senior Brooke Ammerman, Wisconsin downed Minnesota State in game one of the WCHA first-round playoffs on Friday night at Eagles Nest Ice Arena in Verona, Wis. The win was the Badgers' third shutout against the Mavericks of the season.
"It's a new season," head coach Mark Johnson said after the game. "If you're successful this weekend, you get a chance to play again. So it's a different mindset from the regular season. For all the teams, we're all at the starting gate. Everybody, no matter what kind of season they've had, is starting off fresh. You want to make sure you come out and establish things, and start doing a lot of little things that you need to do in playoff hockey. For the most part tonight, we did a good job."
Alex Rigsby earned her 30th win of the season saving all 20 of the shots she faced. Minnesota State's Danielle Butters recorded the loss after giving up three goals in her 5:59 minutes of play. Alli Altmann made 30 saves for MSU conceding four goals in 54:01 minutes of action.
Wisconsin took the early push in the first period with a 3-0 advantage and never looked back. Brooke Ammerman started the scoring drive for the Badgers at the 3:20 mark when Carolyne Prévost found Ammerman on a breakaway, who slipped the puck past Butters.
Brittany Ammerman and Brianna Decker each added goals of their own in the ensuing three minutes, to which the Mavericks responded with a change in net.
"I think our first five minutes were probably the best hockey we've played all year," said Brooke Ammerman. "We came out with a great jump in our game. I don't think we missed that many passes tonight and we played a strong sixty-minute game."
Wisconsin controlled the momentum going into the second period, but Minnesota State came out aggressively and was assessed three of its seven penalties in the period.
Midway through the period, while on the penalty kill, Jordan Brickner snagged the puck away from Minnesota State and pushed it to Prévost for the outlet pass. Prévost pushed ahead on the breakaway and fired her shot off the pipe, but Decker picked up the rebound and found the back of the net past Altmann.
Four and a half minutes later, Brooke Ammerman found the back of the net for the second time in the game behind a setup from Decker.
The Badgers pushed their lead in the third period as Brooke Ammerman tacked on her third and fourth goals of the night, both unassisted, for a 7-0 final score. Her natural hat trick to cap off the game is just the seventh in program history. It was also the seniors' third game with four goals.
"She's been consistent all year, and being a senior, she doesn't have many games left in her career here at Wisconsin. It's nice that she not only had a great regular season but she also started off the playoffs with a hot hand, so I'm happy for her."
Wisconsin returns to the Eagles Nest tomorrow night at 7p.m. for the second game of the WCHA first round playoffs. If necessary, the two teams will meet again on Sunday at 4 p.m. to finish off the best-of-three series, with the winner advancing to the Final Face-Off.
- Brooke Ammerman now sits with 95 career goals
- Alex Rigsby recorded her eighth shutout of the season
- Brianna Decker scored two goals including one shorthanded