MADISON, Wis. -- The No. 3 Wisconsin women's hockey team gave a sellout crowd of Badger fans what they wanted Saturday night as the Badgers skated past Harvard, 2-1, in a 2014 NCAA quarterfinal tilt at LaBahn Arena to advance to the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four in Hamden, Conn.
In the first NCAA contest to be played at LaBahn Arena, junior Blayre Turnbull recorded two points off a goal and an assist while junior Katy Josephs lit the lamp for the 11th time this season to award the Badgers a spot in the Frozen Four for the seventh time in program history.
Senior goaltender Alex Rigsby blocked 23 shots in the contest, earning her 100th career victory in the effort. Rigsby, who posts a 17-6-2 record this season, currently holds the school win record and is now tied for second on the NCAA all-time list.
"I'm excited for our players, certainly excited for Alex (Rigsby) for getting her 100th-career win," Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson said. "It meant a lot not only this season, but throughout her career and to get her 100th win the last night she plays at LaBahn Arena, I'm sure she's excited and her family is excited. We as a staff and as an organization are excited for her."
Redshirt junior Brittany Ammerman also reached the century mark in the quarterfinal game, tallying her 21st assist of the season on Turnbull's goal to become the 19th player in program history to score 100 points.
"It's exciting," Ammerman said. "I didn't know I was that close to 100 points, didn't really hear that much about it, but I guess it's good to get that. It's awesome that we got 100 wins for Alex (Rigsby) and 100 points for me and now we're going to the Frozen Four for the third time in our career. It's exciting. I was just saying, `we're going back, we're going back.' It's been a while, since sophomore year, so I'm excited."
Although Wisconsin was unable to convert on any of its three power play opportunities, UW held the upper hand offensively throughout the game and outshot Harvard 44-24 overall.
Wisconsin dominated control of the puck in the first 20 minutes, outshooting Harvard 18-7 and leading the Crimson 1-0 at the close of the period. At the 16:56 mark, redshirt Ammerman found Turnbull in front of HU's crease on a 2-on-1 rush, resulting in Turnbull's 18th goal of the season the Badgers' first goal of the 2014 NCAA tournament.
Josephs scored next for the Cardinal and White, taking advantage of a loose puck near the HU net and slipping it through Maschmeyer's legs to extend the Badgers' lead to two with three and a half minutes remaining in the second stanza. UW outshot Harvard 17-9 in the second.
Despite some heroic goaltending by Rigsby that brought the fans to their feet, the Badgers could not hold the Crimson scoreless as Harvard snuck a shot into the back of the net with three minutes left in the game. But Wisconsin held off Harvard's final offensive push, claiming the 2-1 triumph.
With tonight's victory, the Badgers will head to Hamden, Conn., next weekend for the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four to face Minnesota for the fifth time this year.
"Coach says all the time, as soon as it hits playoff time records they don't exist anymore," Rigsby said. "That's kind of the mentality we should have going in to this game, knowing that we've prepared all year. This is our time. It's going to be a great game. Minnesota is an awesome team, really good, but I think that being ready on Friday night, ready for the puck drop, I think that's going to be an exciting game."
The first round begins on Friday, March 21, with the championship contest slated for March 23. Game times for Friday will be annouced on Sunday.
- Badgers advance to their seventh Frozen Four
- Alex Rigsby earned her 100th career win
- Brittany Ammerman tallied her 100th career point