|2nd||2:28||MND||1-0||PP||Sidney Morin (8)||Lara Stalder/33, Kateřina Mrázová/12|
|2nd||11:32||WIS||1-1||EV||Sydney McKibbon (13)||Jenny Ryan/16, Presley Norby/14|
|3rd||0:33||WIS||2-1||EV GW||Annie Pankowski (23)||Jenny Ryan/17, Sarah Nurse/25|
|3rd||4:07||WIS||3-1||SH||Sarah Nurse (24)||Sydney McKibbon/19, Mellissa Channell/13|
|3rd||12:26||WIS||4-1||EV||Annie Pankowski (24)||Sarah Nurse/26, Mellissa Channell/14|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Minnesota Duluth (25-6-5)||1/4||4/8||0|
|Minnesota Duluth Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Maddie Rooney (L, 25-6-5)||60:00||4||19||23||8||50|
|Ann-Renée Desbiens (W, 27-1-4)||60:00||1||9||6||7||22|
MINNEAPOLIS - Thanks to a three-goal flurry in the final period, the No. 1 Wisconsin women's hockey team won its third-straight WCHA tournament title with a 4-1 win against No. 2 Minnesota Duluth on Sunday at Ridder Arena.
Junior Annie Pankowski scored twice in the third period, including the game-winning goal 33 seconds into the period while seniors Sydney McKibbon and Sarah Nurse also scored to give the Badgers (31-2-4) their league-best seventh WCHA Final Face-Off title.
"I'm excited for the players," UW head coach Mark Johnson said. "We threw a lot of pucks at the net today and I kept telling the players not to get frustrated because most times it'll eventually go in. The goal to start the third period certainly helped, and then Sarah's (Nurse) short-handed goal was, I don't want to say a "back-breaker", but gave us a bit of room to breathe."
The Badgers, unbeaten in their last 20 games, outshot Minnesota Duluth (25-6-5) 54-23.
After falling down 1-0 midway through the second period thanks to a UMD power-play goal from Sydney Morin, McKibbon buried in her own rebound to knot the game at one. It marked McKibbon's second goal of the weekend as she also scored in the second period of UW's 2-1 win against North Dakota on Saturday afternoon.
UW's offense came to life in the third, scoring three times in 12 minutes to lift UW past UMD in a battle of the top-two teams in the NCAA.
Pankowski tallied the game-winning strike just 33 seconds into the final period, tipping in a Jenny Ryan shot to give UW a 2-1 advantage.
Four minutes later while shorthanded, Nurse recorded her seventh career shorthanded goal to give UW a 3-1 advantage. Nurse sliced and diced the UMD defense before beating UMD netminder Maddie Rooney five-hole to notch her third shorthanded goal of the year. "I saw (Mellissa) Channell pick up the puck and Syd (McKibbon) got herself open in a great space and I knew that if Syd got that puck and could chip it in that I'd be gone," Nurse said. "She did a great job on the wall getting the puck to me and I ended up putting it in."
Nurse now enjoys 24 goals and 26 assists for 50 overall points, a career-high for the senior alternate captain.
Pankowski capped off the scoring for UW, beating Rooney low for her 24th goal of the season. A top-10 finalist for the 2017 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, Pankowski boasts a team-leading 52 points from 24 goals and 28 assists. Senior netminder Ann-Renée Desbiens made 22 saves in the victory, improving her record to 27-1-4 in net for the Cardinal and White. Desbiens continues to dominate NCAA rankings, leading the nation in goals-against average (0.71), save percentage (.962), win percentage (.906) and shutouts (15).
By virtue of winning the WCHA tournament title, the Badgers have earned the league's automatic bid into the 2017 NCAA Tournament. UW will find out its opponent during the NCAA's selection show on Sunday at 8 p.m. CT.
"This was just another box we wanted to check off," McKibbon said. "Being regular season champions was something that we wanted to accomplish, and then this two-week tournament was our next goal so we'll enjoy this for tomorrow and then get back to work on Tuesday and try to reach our last goal."