No. 2 Minnesota tops No. 1 Wisconsin in shootout - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

No. 2 Minnesota tops No. 1 Wisconsin in shootout

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MINNEAPOLIS (Per UW Athletics) - In a matchup between the top offenses in the country, it was the defenses that prevailed on Sunday as the No. 1 Wisconsin women’s hockey team battled to a 0-0 tie with No. 4 Minnesota at Ridder Arena.

Sunday’s result marked the second time in two days that the Border Battle rivals drew in their final regular-season series as the Badgers (27-2-4, 22-2-4-3 WCHA) and Minnesota (23-5-5, 19-4-5-3 WCHA) fought to a 1-1 stalemate on Saturday.

“It’s tough to score in a lot of facets of hockey,” UW head coach Mark Johnson said. “It’s tough some nights to get the puck to the net and goalies are so well-trained so it’s a challenge. So when you do get an opportunity you certainly want to make the most of them.

“We saw two good games this weekend, they were entertaining, great crowds, good atmosphere and I think both teams will be well prepared for next weekend.”

Senior Ann-Renée Desbiens made 35 stops to earn her NCAA-leading 13th shutout of the season. The La Malbaie, Quebec, native now has 51 career blank slates, extending her NCAA record. She also leads the NCAA in goals-against average (0.74), save percentage (.961), winning percentage (.893) and shutouts (13).

“I think today went pretty well,” Desbiens said. “Both teams are known for their offensive power so it’s kind of weird to have a defensive weekend with not that many goals scored. I’m definitely happy with how we did and how we got better every period this game.”

Minnesota came out flying in the first frame, peppering Desbiens with offensive chances. Despite outshooting the Badgers 17-6, the Gophers were unable to find the back of the net as Desbiens stood tall for UW.

The goaltending duel continued into the second period, however it was Golden Gopher goaltender Sydney Peters’ turn to deny opportunities as the Badgers outshot the Gophers 20-7 but were unable to convert. 

Going into the final frame, the rivals were unable to solve the goaltending riddle and after 20 minutes of back and forth play it was determined that regulation would not be enough. 

The two team’s went into overtime for the second time this weekend, and again neither group was able to come up with a goal in the extra session.

In the shootout, Minnesota’s Lee Stecklein scored in the final round to give the Golden Gophers the extra point in the league standings.

The Badgers, who captured the WCHA regular season title last Sunday, outshot Minnesota 38-35 in the final game of the regular season.

“The big thing now is to stay healthy and try to keep people fresh,” Johnson said. “ It’s a long regular season and obviously we did a lot of wonderful things but now you’ve got to mentally switch and get into playoff-mode because you’re only guaranteed next weekend. But it’ll be good, I’m excited. When I looked at my schedule, having Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota back-to-back, those games help you get ready for the playoffs.”

UW returns to LaBahn Arena to host Minnesota State in a first-round WCHA-playoff series. Faceoff on Friday is set for 7 p.m., Saturday’s game is at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s contest, if necessary, begins at 3 p.m. The winner of the series advances to the 2017 WCHA Final Face-Off, March 4-5, in Minneapolis.

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