MADISON, Wis. -- The No. 9 Wisconsin women's hockey team scored three goals in the second period to earn the sweep over No. 8 North Dakota on Sunday afternoon at LaBahn Arena. Alex Rigsby only allowed one goal in the game, coming off a tough five-on-three penalty-kill situation for the Badgers.
The sweep moves Wisconsin (12-6-2, 8-6-2-2 WCHA) within one point of Ohio State for second place in the WCHA. North Dakota (11-7-0, 8-6-0-0 WCHA) drops to fourth in the conference, four points behind the Badgers.
"It was a good sign that we came out of yesterday's game with some confidence and some jump," said head coach Mark Johnson.
After a scoreless first period of hockey, UW's offense came out hot in the second period. Courtney Burke scored a power-play goal after picking up a loose puck from Madison Packer. Burke netted the goal, sneaking it past Shleby Amsley-Benzie's five-hole.
Two minutes later, Packer scored a goal of her own, going top shelf to put the Badgers up 2-0.
After another two minutes, the Badgers found themselves on a penalty kill, but Brianna Decker scored her second short-handed goal of the season on a highlight reel play. The play started when Katarina Zgraja blocked a shot in the defensive zone. Decker picked up the loose puck and skated into the offensive zone and toe-dragged around two defenders to gain an unopposed look on net. She finished the play by cutting across the front on Amsley-Benzie and put the puck in the back of the net off her backhand.
"I couldn't be more proud of the team today," Decker said. "We had a bunch of blocked shots and this is a big six points this weekend. It was a great team to beat right before the break started."
Wisconsin's defense was solid, killing six of North Dakota's seven power-play opportunities. Rigsby recorded 26 saves, including 11 on the power play, and her defense blocked 20 shots. Wisconsin's offense was more dominant in game two, as they out-shot North Dakota 31-27.
The only goal the Badgers allowed came in the third period on a five-on-three power play for UND. Meghan Dufault scored the goal, after the Badgers were assessed a five-minute major for checking from behind and a two minute minor for interference.
"We did a lot of good things on the penalty kill, the kids blocked a lot of shots, which is tough to do and we had a bunch of saves from Alex when we needed them," Johnson said.
In all, a total of 64 penalty minutes were called in the game, including checking from behind infractions, which carry a five-minute major and a 10-minute game misconduct.
Wisconsin went 1-8 on the power-play, taking a total of 10 shots on the man advantage.
The Badgers return to the ice on January 4, hosting the Minnesota Whitecaps in an exhibition game at LaBahn arena at 7 p.m. Wisconsin then faces Ohio State on January 11-12 at home.
- The sweep improves UW's record against UND to 36-2-1
- Wisconsin hasn't lost to North Dakota since the 2009-10 season.
- Decker's short-handed goal was her seventh of her career, just one shy of tying the UW record