Sophomore goaltender Alex Rigsby makes 28 saves for the Badgers

Sophomore Alex Rigsby made 28 saves for the Badgers

VERONA, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin women's hockey team used a 4-0 score to down Minnesota State on Saturday night at the Eagles Nest in Verona, Wis., to advance to the 2012 WCHA Final Face-Off. The Badgers received goals from four different players and goaltender Alex Rigsby made 28 saves for her second-consecutive shutout.

With the win Wisconsin (31-3-2) will play No. 4 seed Minnesota Duluth next Friday in the conference semifinals. Minnesota State ends its season after posting a 7-28-1 record.

Alex Rigsby earned her ninth shutout of the season after keeping the Mavericks scoreless in both games this weekend. Rigsby stopped all 28 shots she faced in Saturday's game for a total of 48 saves on the weekend.

Minnesota State goaltender, Danielle Butters, recorded the loss for the Mavericks after giving up three Badger goals in the first period. Alli Altmann made 16 saves for the Mavericks in her 40 minutes of play and only conceded one goal.

"I think that's huge for our team," Rigsby said of the two shutouts. "It gives us some confidence. It was really nice to see some other girls score tonight. It just helps them out so much more."

The Badgers started the game strong, putting the puck past Butters just one minute into the game. Katy Josephs tallied the goal after a rebounded MSU shot led to a Wisconsin breakaway. Fellow freshman Blayre Turnbull helped create the play after picking up the rebound and feeding it to Josephs.

Brooke Ammerman continued her strong postseason play assisting on Wisconsin's second goal of the night just seven minutes later. Ammerman found Carolyne Prévost in front of the net after picking up a deflected UW shot. Prévost fired a shot into the back of the net to put the Badgers up 2-0 midway through the period.

Ammerman tacked on a goal of her own with a minute left in the first period when Wisconsin capitalized on its power play for the first time of the weekend. After setting up possession, Hilary Knight pushed the puck to Stefanie McKeough on the left side of the net. McKeough spotted Ammerman in the crease and the Badger senior netted her 96th career goal to give UW the 3-0 lead.

Minnesota State didn't give up coming out strong in the second period. The Mavericks held Wisconsin to eight shots on goal in the period while firing 12 of their own at Rigsby.

Despite MSU's aggressiveness, the Badgers put one more in the net as Knight and Brianna Decker charged the net on a breakaway at the 5:26 mark. Decker's goal would prove to be the fourth and final tally of the contest.

Both teams stayed physical throughout the third period, but neither was able to find an opening on net, giving Wisconsin its 12th shutout win of the season.

"If you look at both games, not giving up a goal, you like to see that," said head coach Mark Johnson. "I'd rather have some things challenge us, I'd rather have the pace be at a really high level right now than to win easily. It gives your young players an opportunity to gain some experience in the playoffs. So I was happy with our effort. If you don't give up a goal over the course of a weekend, your chances of winning are pretty good. Now we move forward, forget about what happened, and focus on practice on Monday."

The opening game of the WCHA Final Face-Off will pit the Badgers against the UMD Bulldogs with a 4:30 p.m. start next Friday, March 2, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, Minn. The winner will then advance to the championship game, playing against either Minnesota or North Dakota.