Badgers suffer first sweep of the season, fall in OT to Gophers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Badgers suffer first sweep of the season, fall in OT to Gophers

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MINNEAPOLIS – After rallying from two goals down, the No. 2 Wisconsin women’s hockey team fell in overtime, 4-3, to No. 3 Minnesota in the Badgers’ regular season finale on Saturday at Ridder Arena.

Despite outshooting the Gophers 34-27, the Badgers (30-3-1, 24-3-1-1 WCHA) were unable to stop Minnesota (29-3-1, 24-3-1-0 WCHA) in overtime.

“We had a couple moments in the game that we faced adversity,” UW head coach Mark Johnson said “But we took the challenge and the end result is that we gave ourselves a chance to win at the end and we came up a little bit short. But it was a great effort and we showed a lot of heart today.”

Erika Sowchuk, Sarah Nurse and Annie Pankowski each lit the lamp for Wisconsin as Pankowski ended the game with a team-high two points. The sophomore now has 95 career points and is five points away from becoming the 20th in program history to tally 100 career points.

After giving up goals to Minnesota’s Sarah Potomak and Kate Schipper in the first five minutes of the game, Sowchuk scored her 11th of the season, sneaking the puck past Minnesota netminder Amanda Leveille with seven minutes left in the first to make it a 2-1 game.

The Gophers extended their lead to 3-1, scoring at the 13:19 mark of the second as Minnesota’s Cara Piazza scored on a scrum.

Just three minutes later, Nurse scored on a breakaway, her 21st of the year, off a feed from senior Katy Harding to make it a 3-2 contest after two periods of play.

Early in the third, the Badgers were assessed a penalty shot after Minnesota defenseman Milica McMillen covered the puck in the crease momentarily before throwing it out of the crease.

Pankowski scored her 20th of the season on the penalty shot, marking UW’s first penalty shot conversion since Karley Sylvester successfully lit the lamp against Ohio State on Nov. 16, 2012.

UW outshot Minnesota 13-4 in the final frame, but couldn’t tally a second goal in the period.

In overtime, the Badgers dominated play early, but Minnesota’s Kelly Pannek scored with 54 seconds remaining on a rush to end the game.

Wisconsin goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped 23 shots in the defeat.

With their 24 league wins, the Badgers matched a program record for the most WCHA victories in a single season. Wisconsin, the 2015-16 WCHA Regular Season Champions, ended the season with 74 points, one more than Minnesota.

“I think after our regular season we have an idea of what it’s going to take to play for the next couple of weeks here,” Johnson said. “It was good and we’ll take a lot of lessons. It’s heartbreaking to lose the way we ended up losing because we started to push and played really well in the third period and the early part of the overtime. The puck bounced the wrong way today and they capitalized on it.”

Wisconsin returns to LaBahn Arena to host Minnesota State in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs. The best-of-three series begins Friday at 7 p.m. and continues Saturday at 4 p.m. If a third game is necessary, it would be held on next Sunday at 2 p.m.

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