MADISON, Wis. - The No. 8 Wisconsin women's hockey team couldn't get past No. 1 Minnesota in the first game of the Border Battle, dropping a 2-0 decision Friday at LaBahn Arena.
The Badgers drop to 15-8-2 (11-8-2-2 WCHA), while Minnesota improves to 25-0-0 (19-0-0 WCHA) and sets a new NCAA record for longest undefeated streak at 33 games.
Wisconsin's defense played well against the oppressive Gopher offense, which is averaging more than five goals a game, and only conceding two goals. Both of Minnesota's goals were scored in the first period, with one scored during a five-on-three power play.
"It's a learning opportunity, especially for our younger players," said head coach Mark Johnson. "As we went along in some areas we started to compete, started to get a little better and started creating, so those are signs that we are growing."
Junior netminder Alex Rigsby also continued her strong play against the Gophers, making 33 saves in the game. After allowing the five-on-three power-play goal, Rigsby kept Minnesota scoreless for the final 42 minutes.
The Gophers got on the board first, scoring four minutes into the first period. Hannah Brandt received a pass on the right side of the net and looked to shoot high. Rigsby read the shot selection, but unfortunately as she covered the high part of the net, Brandt misfired her shot, accidentally placing it through Rigsby's now open five hole.
Minnesota's Mira Jalosuo tallied the second goal for the Gophers with one second remaining on a five-on-three power play in at the 18:02 mark of the first period.
In all, the Gophers were 1-for-4 on the power play, while Wisconsin went 0-for-2 with the man advantage. Rigsby made a total of 11 saves on the penalty kill for the Badgers.
"It makes it challenging, but if we're going to beat them we certainly have to capitalize on our opportunities," said Johnson. "If you get power play chances that's probably the best time to do that."
The Gophers also had two goals disallowed in the game. The first was called off after Kelly Terry ran into Rigsby, knocking her to the ice and unable to make a play on the shot. The second was taken away when it was ruled that Brandt was in the crease while tipping a shot from the point.
The Badgers close out the series with the Gophers on Sunday at 2 p.m. in LaBahn Arena. Fans are encouraged to help the Badgers "Ice Hunger" by bringing in a non-perishable food item for donation to Second Harvest Foodbank.