|1st||6:39||WIS||1-0||EV GW||Sarah Nurse (14)||Sydney McKibbon/16, Annie Pankowski/22|
|1st||12:40||WIS||2-0||EV||Sarah Nurse (15)||Kim Drake/6, Katy Josephs/15|
|2nd||19:57||WIS||3-0||EV||Karley Sylvester (13)||Blayre Turnbull/19, Brittany Ammerman/24|
|3rd||4:04||WIS||4-0||EV||Katarina Zgraja (2)||Sarah Nurse/10|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Bemidji State (21-17-1)||0/3||2/4||0|
|Bemidji State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Brittni Mowat (L, 19-13-1)||60:00||4||10||13||10||33|
|Ann-Renée Desbiens (W, 25-6-4)||59:45||0||4||5||6||15|
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Wisconsin women's hockey sophomore Sarah Nurse scored twice in the first period as the No. 3 Badgers blanked No. 10 Bemidji State, 4-0, on Sunday in the WCHA Final Face-Off championship contest to win the program's fifth WCHA playoff title.
Nurse ended the tournament as the WCHA Final Face-Off Most Outstanding Player, scoring four goals while also adding two assists during the weekend. Nurse, along with fellow sophomores Sydney McKibbon, Mellissa Channell and goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens, were also named to the WCHA Final Face-Off All-Tournament team.
Nurse put the Badgers (28-6-4) on the board midway through the first period with a beautiful goal that beat Bemidji State (21-17-1) goaltender Brittany Mowat top-shelf. While that particular tally would count as the sophomore's team-leading fifth game-winning goal, she wasn't done putting the puck in the net just yet.
"She stuck out quickly in yesterday's game and certainly today, and it's nice that she gets rewarded" UW head coach Mark Johnson said of Nurse. "It was probably a month ago she was getting the same type of opportunities and for whatever reason, the puck wasn't going in, but she kept pushing herself and creating opportunities and this weekend she played very well and was a big factor in why we won the tournament."
Six minutes later, Nurse would score again for UW, notching her 15th goal of the year on a goal that stood up after an official review. It marked the Hamilton, Ontario, native's fourth goal in two periods and 24th point on the season. Defenseman Kim Drake picked up her fourth assist in her last three games on the goal with a shot that ricocheted off the end boards and bounced out to the front of the net, where Nurse could put it away.
"I think just our whole team is playing well," Nurse explained her success this weekend. "We have a ton of energy. We're really excited to be on the ice every single shift, and I think just feeding off the energy from the team is really helping all of our games."
Sophomore and third team All-WCHA netminder Ann-Renee Desbiens held strong in the championship matchup, turning aside all 15 shots she faced from the Beavers. It goes down as Desbiens' 14th shutout on the year, which ties the Wisconsin school record set by Jessie Vetter during the 2008-09 season.
"I thought we did a pretty good job," Johnson said. "We killed penalties. When we did have breakdowns, Ann-Renee was there to make some key saves. Overall, six good periods of hockey, beat two strong opponents who had great seasons and we're happy to take the trophy back to Madison."
Senior Karley Sylvester was also impressed with the poise of the team's sophomore goaltender.
"Ann had a great weekend," Sylvester said. "Like coach said, if we ever had a lapse, she was there to back us up. She was definitely on her game this weekend, and it was good to see."
Sylvester added a goal of her own with only two seconds remaining in the second period, slamming home her own rebound between Mowat's pads from just outside the crease.
"All my linemates and defense were working hard to get the puck to the net," Sylvester explained. "Luckily I got my stick on it and it went through the goalie's legs, but that was huge. It's definitely a goal you don't want to let up as the other team, and as the team that gets the goal, that's huge. You get to come into the locker room with a lot of energy after that."
Fellow senior Katarina Zgraja lit the lamp four minutes into the third period with a helper from Nurse to end the scoring in the championship matchup.
After being outshot for just the third time all season in Saturday's victory over North Dakota, UW outshot Bemidji State 37-15.
With the win, the Badgers captured their first WCHA Final Face-Off title since 2011, as Wisconsin has won league tournament titles in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011.
"We wanted to play for a championship," Johnson said. "We got ourselves in a position to do that and I thought for three periods we played really sound hockey and over the course of the weekend played six real good periods, so I'm happy for the players and certainly happy for our staff."
Wisconsin, which captured the WCHA automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with the victory, faces Boston University, the Hockey East tournament champion, on Saturday in a 2 p.m. contest at LaBahn Arena.