|1st||3:34||WIS||1-0||EV GW||Erika Sowchuk (8)||Rachel Jones/6, Jenny Ryan/21|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|North Dakota (13-7-3)||0/4||4/8||0|
|North Dakota Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Shelby Amsley-Benzie (L, 11-6-2)||59:02||1||7||14||10||31|
|Ann-Renée Desbiens (W, 21-1-1)||59:42||0||10||7||12||29|
MADISON, Wis.-- The No. 2 Wisconsin women's hockey team found redemption for its lone loss of the season with a goal from senior Erika Sowchuk, edging out No. 8 North Dakota, 1-0, at LaBahn Arena for its 17th consecutive home win, a program best.
"I think they were excited," UW head coach Mark Johnson said of his team. "Obviously if a team beats you and you play them the next night or the next half of the season, you're going to get excited because you want to go out and make sure that doesn't happen again."
Junior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens made a career-high 29 saves on the shutout, collecting her NCAA-leading 12th blank slate of the season. Desbiens continues to lead the nation in save percentage (.964) and goals-against average (.066), while her 29 career shutouts are tied for fifth in NCAA history with Clarkson's Erica Howe. Desbiens is one shutout away from joining former Wisconsin (23-1-1, 17-1-1-1 WCHA) legend Alex Rigsby and New Hampshire's Melissa Bourdon in a tie for third-place.
The Badgers' lone goal came early in front of a capacity crowd of 2,273 fans, despite being outshot by the Fighting Hawks (13-7-3, 10-6-3-1 WCHA) 10-8 in the first frame. Sowchuk and freshman Sam Cogan raced down the ice together as Cogan went back door, taking UND goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie's attention with her. Sowchuk was able to take a shot from the goal line that squeezed in between the post and Amsley-Benzie's skate to give Wisconsin the 1-0 lead.
"Rachel Jones made a nice chip off the boards and I was able to pretty much just throw it at the goalie's feet, trying to create a rebound and somehow it went into the back of the net," Sowchuk said of her eighth goal of the season. "We were excited to play them and I think they were excited to play us. Getting the first goal never hurts."
The Badgers were perfect on the penalty kill, killing all four of UND's power plays. UW was able to kill off a 5-on-3 North Dakota power play late in the first period as Desbiens made a couple of enormous saves to maintain the UW lead. Wisconsin continues to lead the country in penalty kill with a .958 clip.
"They definitely made my job pretty easy on the five-on-three," Desbiens said of the team in front of her. "They just made sure they kept the puck on the outside. The other team was trying to take shots but most of them were not super dangerous, so that was a big deal. Jenny Ryan blocked a shot with her head, that's pretty impressive, too. I don't think I even want to do that myself."
Despite numerous quality offensive opportunities for both teams, the final two periods were scoreless. Amsley-Benzie ended the night with 31 saves for the Fighting Hawks.
"Both goaltenders are two of the better goaltenders not only in our league, but in the country," Johnson said. "One's a senior and one's a junior. If you can imagine if you have good defensemen, which both teams have, it's going to be tough to get scoring opportunities. The last minute and a half, I thought we did a good job of staying in the moment and doing the things you need to do to win a game, 1-0."
The Badgers conclude their conference series against North Dakota on Sunday. The game at LaBahn Arena is set for a 1 p.m. start.