|1st||8:26||WIS||1-0||EV GW||Sam Cogan (10)||Emily Clark/21, Annie Pankowski/35|
|1st||13:26||WIS||2-0||EV||Jenny Ryan (8)||Sam Cogan/16, Erika Sowchuk/11|
|2nd||10:47||WIS||3-0||SH||Sydney McKibbon (9)||Sarah Nurse/12, Jenny Ryan/24|
|2nd||15:59||WIS||4-0||EV||Emily Clark (23)||Sarah Nurse/13, Mikaela Gardner/9|
|3rd||12:16||WIS||5-0||PP||Sarah Nurse (25)||Courtney Burke/29, Annie Pankowski/36|
|3rd||18:02||WIS||6-0||EV||Baylee Wellhausen (9)||Mikaela Gardner/10, Sophia Shaver/10|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Sarah McDonnell (L, 17-6-5)||60:00||6||10||15||10||35|
|Ann-Renée Desbiens (W, 33-3-1)||60:00||0||5||9||8||22|
MADISON, Wis. - For the ninth time in 11 years, the Wisconsin women's hockey team is heading to the NCAA Frozen Four as the No. 2 Badgers blanked Mercyhurst, 6-0, in the NCAA quarterfinal round on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd at LaBahn Arena.
Junior netminder Ann-Renée Desbiens, a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award top-three finalist, made 22 saves to earn her 21st shutout of the season, as Wisconsin (35-3-1) outshot the Lakers (19-11-5) 41-22 through the contest. Desbiens continues to lead the nation in goals-against average (0.71) and save percentage (.962). The La Malbaie, Quebec, native has earned blank slates in each of the Badgers' five postseason games this year.
Six Badgers had a multi-point showing, paced by junior Sarah Nurse's three points on a goal and two assists.
Saturday's win marked the 25th-straight win for the Badgers, as UW ends its home slate a perfect 21-0-0. Twelve of UW's 21 home games were sellouts, a program record.
"Obviously when we travel and play away games the atmosphere is different," UW head coach Mark Johnson said. "I think our players understand it's a special place. We've created a special atmosphere. It seems like each year the rink has been open it has gotten better and better, this year being the best year. Overall, since the second half of the season we've had mostly sellouts.
"It's a tribute to the players who have played so well for the number of years that we've played here at LaBahn. The success that they've had-the community has embraced it."
Freshman Sam Cogan opened the Badgers' scoring, tipping in a shot midway through the first period for the game-winner and her 10th goal of the season.
Exactly five minutes later, Jenny Ryan would give Wisconsin the two-goal lead, sending a one-timed rocket from along the boards past Mercyhurst goaltender Sara McDonnell. Ryan became the 12th different Badger to record a goal in the first period of a game during the 2015-16 season.
Wisconsin tallied its eighth short-handed goal of the year in the second period, as Sydney McKibbon deked McDonnell after a textbook two-on-one play with Nurse. McKibbon leads the Badgers in postseason points, tallying three goals and four assists in playoff games.
"(Sydney McKibbon) kept the puck along the wall and just drew the defender with her," Nurse said of the goal. "I saw her going to the net-she was on her forehand-and I didn't really think to shoot. We do it in practice all the time. She went and made a great move and scored."
UW's eight short-handers this season ranks second in the NCAA, and the Badger penalty kill continues to lead the country with a .947 clip.
"From the front, all the way to the back with Ann-Renée, we play as unit," Nurse explained. "On the penalty kill that's really key for us. We all have a system and we stick to that and I think that's what makes us successful."
Desbiens stopped nine shots in the second, including multiple high-quality chances.
"I think in the second period (Mercyhurst) got some of their chances," Desbiens said. "But our team did a good job making sure I could see the puck or clear the rebounds."
Sophomore Emily Clark registered her 23rd goal of the season with four minutes remaining in the second stanza, putting a backhand shot past McDonnell during a four-on-four sequence for the 4-0 lead.
Nurse added a goal of her own in the third period, taking advantage of the Badgers' power play by positioning herself near McDonnell's net and slamming home a loose puck for the 5-0 lead.
Baylee Wellhausen would wrap up the scoring with less than two minutes to play, blowing past the MU defense and sniping a shot from the right face-off dot.
"I'm certainly pleased with our effort tonight and look forward to one more game and one more opportunity," Johnson said. "It's always fun to get to the Frozen Four. We're looking forward to the challenges that will be presented, as we play Minnesota next Friday."
The Badgers will meet Minnesota for the third-straight year in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals. The March 18 matchup will start at 6 p.m. (CT) in Durham, New Hampshire.
The semifinal meeting marks the sixth time this year the two Border Battle rivals will meet, as UW leads the season series, 3-2, after defeating Minnesota in the WCHA Final Face-Off title game last weekend in Minneapolis.