Senior netminder Alex Rigsby makes 26 saves for Badgers

Senior goalie Alex Rigsby stopped 26 shots for the Badgers

MADISON, Wis. -- Led by four players with two-point performances, the No. 2 Wisconsin women's hockey team shutout Minnesota State, 4-0, Friday in the first game of the best-of-three WCHA first round playoff series at LaBahn Arena.

Freshman Sarah Nurse and senior Madison Packer each tallied a goal and an assist in the win, while redshirt junior Brittany Ammerman and junior Blayre Turnbull added two assists apiece in the balanced Badger attack. Freshman Sydney McKibbon and junior Katy Josephs also lit the lamp for the Cardinal and White.

Senior Alex Rigsby guarded the net for UW, recording 26 saves to mark her 98th career win and 29th career shutout. Wisconsin dominated on the offensive front, outshooting Minnesota State 43-26.

"It was a good effort," UW head coach Mark Johnson said. "It's going to be a tight game with both teams vying for their first playoff win, and certainly everyone is back at the starting line and starting fresh irrelevant of the way the regular season went. We got the power play early on and to capitalize on that probably relaxed some of our players. But overall it was a good effort, especially in the second half of the game."

The Badgers struck early as Nurse knocked a pass from Ammerman over the shoulder of MSU goaltender Danielle Butters on a UW power play to record her second career power-play goal and put Wisconsin on the board 1:33 into the game.

Wisconsin continued its offensive push in the second as Packer wove through the MSU defense and sent a rocket past Butters, resulting in her 11th goal of the season and a two-goal lead the Badgers would finish the period with.

Rigsby stopped 12 MSU shots in the second stanza, while Butters recorded 14 saves.

The Badgers finished the contest strong, outshooting the Mavericks 17-5 in the final 20 minutes. McKibbon lit the lamp for the fifth time this season after sneaking the puck past Butters at the 2:52 mark, extending the Badgers' lead to three. Seven minutes later, Josephs punched a shot into the back of the net to mark her 10th goal of the season and seal the 4-0 triumph for the Cardinal and White.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. Saturday in the second contest of the best-of-three series. The winner of the series will skate in the WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF, March 7-8, in Bemidji, Minn.

"I'm sure they're going to come out and push and we have to be ready for that push early on in the game," Johnson said. "Similar to this game, it depends who scores first, what opportunities are given, and if your special teams are good. Tomorrow's game will be a challenge because if you win, you're successful and the other team's season is over. That's the type of challenge you're up against."

Fast Facts

- Badgers outshot Minnesota State 17-5 in the final period

- Ammerman, Turnbull, Packer and Nurse each tallied two points

- Rigsby stopped all 26 saves to win her 15th game of the year