|2nd||7:34||WIS||1-0||PP||Sydney McKibbon (12)||Emily Clark/26, Jenny Ryan/15|
|2nd||15:34||NDK||1-1||EV||Amy Menke (11)||Charly Dahlquist/7|
|3rd||17:17||WIS||2-1||EV GW||Emily Clark (18)||Sarah Nurse/24, Mellissa Channell/12|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|North Dakota (16-16-6)||0/3||8/38||0|
|North Dakota Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Lexie Shaw (L, 15-13-6)||57:58||2||17||20||10||47|
|Ann-Renée Desbiens (W, 26-1-4)||59:56||1||6||7||5||18|
MINNEAPOLIS - Emily Clark has a knack for game-winning goals, which was shown once again on Saturday as the junior scored with 2:43 left in regulation to lift the No. 1 Wisconsin women's hockey team to a thrilling 2-1 win against North Dakota in the semifinals of the 2017 WCHA Final Face-Off.
Clark fired a low wrist shot past UND netminder Lexi Shaw to tally her ninth game-winning goal of the season and her 20th game-winner of her career, lifting UW to Sunday's championship game at Ridder Arena.
"Certainly happy with the win this afternoon," UW head coach Mark Johnson said. "I told the team if they were successful today, they'd get an opportunity to play for another trophy. I think we seized on that moment. Obviously it was a very tight game and was going to come down to somebody capitalizing on an opportunity. Emily Clark was able to do that, so we're excited to play again tomorrow for the playoff championship."
"Every game we've played North Dakota since I've been here has been gritty and like playoff hockey, even during the regular season," Clark said. "It was no different today, and a battle right down to the end. Close games like that are going to come down to a little breakdown. (Sarah) Nurse had two people on me and saw me open and did a great job getting me the puck.
"The play slows down for me, as the puck is coming towards me. I just tried to put everything I had behind it and was I fortunate it found the back of the net."
After a scoreless first that featured a five-minute power play for the Badgers, captain Sydney McKibbon opened up the scoring for Wisconsin midway through the second. McKibbon capitalized on a five-on-three power play, tapping in a rebound past UND goaltender Lexi Shaw to give UW a 1-0 lead.
North Dakota answered back with a goal of their own a few minutes later as Amy Menke scored on a rush to even the game at one. Despite outshooting UND 21-8 through the second frame, the Badgers were unable to find the back of the net again.
The two teams battled back and forth in the third, killing multiple penalties before Clark scored the game-winner.
UW outshot North Dakota 49-19 while holding North Dakota scoreless on its three power-play opportunities.
Ann-Renee Desbiens made 18 saves as the Badgers outshot the Fighting Hawks 49-19. With the win, Desbiens boasts a record of 26-1-4 in net for the Cardinal and White.
"We have so much confidence in Ann-Renee," McKibbon said. "Even when we have breakdowns, 2-on-1s, we know she's going to have our back and stop the puck. She had another great game today. Sometimes she's not getting shots on net for minutes at a time, but she stays on her toes. Credit to her and the way she played today."
Recently named a Patty Kazmaier Award top-three finalist, Desbiens sits atop the NCAA in goals-against average (0.70), save percentage (.962), win percentage (.903) and shutouts (15).
UW meets the winner of Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth on Sunday in a 2 p.m. tilt in Minneapolis. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Wisconsin and Fox Sports North.