MADISON, Wis. - In an intense Border Battle match, the No. 1-ranked Wisconsin Badgers extended their unbeaten streak to 32 games with a 3-2 decision over the No. 3 Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday night. The win ties the NCAA record longest unbeaten streak, which was also set by the Badgers back in 2007.
The Badgers (5-0-0, 3-0-0-0 WCHA) outshot Minnesota (4-1-0, 2-1-0-0 WCHA) 28-27 in a close game that saw a total of 10 penalties. However, Wisconsin was unable to take advantage of the opportunities going 0-4 on the man advantage, while Minnesota capitalized on one of its six opportunities.
Alex Rigsby moved to 5-0-0 on the year, making 25 saves in the game including 12 in the third period alone. Minnesota's junior netminder Noora Raty is now 4-1-0, ending the night with 25 saves as well, while giving up three goals.
The Badgers came out with fire against the Gophers, scoring the first goal of the game at the 2:30 mark. After picking up the puck up from Brittany Ammerman, freshman Katy Josephs fired a shot top shelf for her second goal of the season.
"(Brittany Ammerman) went to make a move," Josephs said after the game. "But it went off her stick, through her legs, then through the defenseman's legs and to me. I think nobody really knew where the puck was."
The goal extends Josephs to a two-game point streak after having assisted on the Badgers first goal against North Dakota on Oct. 9.
Less than a minute later, Brooke Ammerman came around the back of the net and found an open Carolyne Prevost who put the puck in to go up 2-0. With a two-goal deficit within the first four minutes of play, Minnesota head coach Brad Frost used his team's timeout to calm his team down.
Wisconsin controlled the momentum the rest of the first period extending its lead again late in the period. From the corner, Decker made a rink-wide pass through the top of crease to Prevost who was sitting on the far side of the net. Prevost didn't hesitate and put home her fifth goal in three games with 2:15 remaining in the first period.
Minnesota was not about to give up that easily and they came out a different team in the second period. The two teams battled back-and-forth for most of the period until the Gophers took advantage of a power play midway through.
The Gophers cycled the puck behind the Badger net and tricked Rigsby into following the wrong player as Schleper skated out from behind the net to an unprotected net.
The Gophers made their strongest push in the third period, out-shooting the Badgers 13-5. They were able to close the gap at the 8:23 mark off a Kelly Terry and Rachael Bona breakaway. With a pass from Terry, Bona scored the 2-on-1 goal, Bona's first of the season.
"(Minnesota) definitely stepped it up in the third period and took it to another level," Rigsby said of Minnesota's late rally. "It was a fun game playing against them. They had some great opportunities throughout the entire game, especially when they were on their power play. It was really intense there in the last couple of minutes."
The intensity was high late in the period as the Gophers went on power play from a Badger penalty with under three minutes left in the game. With the man advantage, Minnesota opted to pull its goalie for a sixth skater hoping to tie the game. Fortunately, the Badgers weathered the storm earned the 3-2 victory.
"(Minnesota) is a pretty good team nationally," Prevost said. "They have some pretty big defenders. They're a quick team. I think any time you play at a high pace like that against North Dakota and Minnesota, people are going to be really competitive on the ice. That's the result of that competitiveness and people are going to be more aggressive."
The Badgers return to the Kohl Center on Sunday when they wrap up the weekend series against Minnesota. Game time is set for 2 p.m. (CT).