MADISON, Wis. - No. 1 Wisconsin (24-2-2, 18-2-2-2 WCHA) set a new NCAA women's hockey attendance record when 10,668 fans watched the Badgers earn a 3-1 win over No. 4 Minnesota (18-7-2, 13-7-2-1 WCHA) in the Fill the Bowl game Saturday night at the Kohl Center.
Wisconsin's Fill the Bowl crowd of nearly 11,000 fans broke the previous NCAA attendance record of 8,263, which the Badgers set on Feb. 6, 2010 at Camp Randall when they hosted Bemidji State in the outdoor Camp Randall Hockey Classic.
Saturday night's game saw sophomore Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.) score her ninth game-winning goal of the season to lead Wisconsin past the Gophers and extend UW's unbeaten streak to 14 games a 12-0-2. Decker's tally also broke the UW program record for most game-winning goals in a single season.
In a physical game that saw 12 penalties, Wisconsin limited Minnesota's special teams, holding the Gophers scoreless on the each of their six power-plays. The Badgers were able to convert once to go 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
The Badgers used the momentum they gained from the record-breaking crowd to jump out to an early lead against Minnesota. Junior Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho) put Wisconsin on the board just 47seconds into the game, beating Minnesota goaltender Noora Raty stick-side for the goal. Earning assists on the goal were junior Brittany Haverstock (Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia) and senior Meghan Duggan (Danvers, Mass.), who extended her program-record point streak to 24 games.
Wisconsin took a 2-0 lead later in the period on Decker's eventual game-winner, her second short-handed goal of the year. After blocking a shot in the defensive zone, Decker gained possession of the puck and slid the puck past Raty on a breakaway.
Minnesota scored its lone goal of the night at the 4:42 mark of the second period, also on the penalty kill. Becky Kortum poked the puck free in the defensive zone and took it all the way to the net where she bounced it off Rigsby's pads and into the net to cut the Badgers' lead to one at 2-1.
UW would regained the two-goal lead with 8:07 left to play in the second frame as junior Carolyne Prevost (Sarnia, Ontario) scored on Wisconsin's fourth power-play opportunity of the game. Senior Mallory Deluce (London, Ontario) brought the puck into the zone and dropped it back to Prevost, who skated through two Minnesota defensemen before taking a shot from the right circle that trickled through Raty's pads and into the net.
Freshman Alex Rigsby (Delafield, Wis.) improves to 17-1-2, stopping 27 shots. Raty falls to 17-5-2 after making 39 saves on 42 shots.
With the 10,668 fans in attendance at the Fill the Bowl game, Becker Law Office will donate $10,668 to Second Harvest Foodbank.
Next weekend, Wisconsin heads north for a series at Bemidji State. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday.