|1st||18:15||WIS||1-0||PP GW||Emily Clark (21)||Sydney McKibbon/24, Courtney Burke/28|
|3rd||0:51||WIS||2-0||EV||Mellissa Channell (2)||-|
|3rd||4:42||WIS||3-0||EV||Sarah Nurse (23)||Sydney McKibbon/25, Mikaela Gardner/8|
|3rd||14:12||WIS||4-0||EV||Sam Cogan (9)||Emily Clark/19, Mellissa Channell/12|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Minnesota State (3-28-4)||0/1||2/4||0|
|Minnesota State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Brianna Quade (L, 3-27-3)||60:00||4||18||23||11||52|
|Ann-Renée Desbiens (W, 29-3-1)||60:00||0||8||1||4||13|
MADISON, Wis.-- Behind another shutout from junior Ann-Renée Desbiens, the No. 3 Wisconsin women's hockey team defeated Minnesota State 4-0 in the first game of the WCHA postseason.
The blank slate is the 17th of the season for Desbiens, which is tied for the most in NCAA women's ice hockey history. Minnesota's Noora Raty recorded 17 shutouts during the 2012-13 season. With 34 career shutouts, Desbiens has not allowed a goal in 42 percent of her starts for the Badgers.
Desbiens, who was named a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award on Thursday, has gone 29-3-1 in net this season, leading the nation with a 0.79 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage. Wisconsin also leads the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to 0.74 goals per contest.
"The season is over and the playoffs are just starting, so it's nice to get a fresh start," Desbiens said of her shutout after giving up eight goals last weekend at Minnesota. "It's definitely not something you can do by yourself. My teammates are doing an amazing job blocking shots and spending time in the offensive zone, just making my life really easy."
"She is solid," Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson said of his starting goaltender. "She made good saves and she plays the puck really well. She acts like a third defenseman back there. Makes some good break out plays and keeps the puck out of the goal. She is certainly playing at a high level, obviously with what she did tonight puts her in a special category. I am happy for her."
The top seeded team in this season's WCHA playoffs, Wisconsin (31-3-1) outshot Minnesota State (3-28-4) 56-13, marking the ninth time this season the Badger offense has registered 50 or more shots on goal.
Wisconsin opened up the scoring late in the first period, when sophomore Emily Clark knocked in a loose puck during a Wisconsin power play to give Wisconsin the 1-0 lead heading into the intermission. Clark ranks fourth in the WCHA for goals per game, averaging 0.64 goals per contest.
"I think I was just in the right spot at the right time, lucky that it squeaked in," Clark said. "The goalie played really well tonight and we just needed to get plays in front of the goal."
Despite dominating the second period, outshooting the Mavericks 23-1, the Badgers were unable to capitalize during the frame.
"It's natural to get frustrated, especially in the second period where we were throwing a lot of pucks at the net," Johnson said. "Some night, it doesn't want to go in. Scoring early in the third period obviously helped.
"You have to play 60 minutes and we did that tonight."
The scoring drought lasted 51 seconds into the final period, until junior Mellissa Channell walked the puck in from the blue line and threaded a shot through the legs of Minnesota State's Emma Wittchow and behind netminder Brianna Quade for the two-goal lead.
"It usually it only takes one goal, one shot, one anything," Channell explained. "I'm not going to say that I got lucky, but my goal wasn't really the best goal around. I kind of went for a pop play with Sam and it slid through. Nurse came back with a quick goal so it just kind of builds off of each other."
Sarah Nurse would widen the lead to 3-0, sniping a shot over Quade's glove for her team-leading 23rd goal of the season. Nurse ranks third in the WCHA for goals per game, averaging 0.74 goals per contest, as well as ranking seventh in the nation.
Freshman Sam Cogan added an insurance goal with just over five minutes remaining in the game, burying a pass from Clark to ensure the 4-0 victory.
"We came out with energy and we maintained that excitement and energy throughout the whole game," Johnson said. "It was nice to see how the team responded coming into our first playoff game, they were excited to play in front of a big crowd. You are only guaranteed this weekend, so it was a nice game for a lot of different reasons."
The Badgers continue the best-of-three matchup on Saturday, taking on Minnesota State at LaBahn Arena. The game is set for a 4 p.m. tilt.