MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin women’s hockey senior Brooke Ammerman clinched the weekend sweep over No. 8 Minnesota Duluth with an early overtime goal on Saturday afternoon at the Kohl Center.
Wisconsin improves to 22-2-2 (16-2-2-1 WCHA) on the season, while UMD drops to 12-11-1 (9-10-1-1 WCHA). The Badgers remain in control of first place in the conference with 51 points. Minnesota sits six points behind the Badgers in second place.
The duo of Brianna Decker and Brooke Ammerman teamed up for a combined seven points in the thrilling win, each netting two goals apiece. Carolyne Prévost helped on three of the Badger goals including an assist on Ammerman’s game-winner.
Alex Rigsby earned the win making 22 stops in 60:44 minutes of action, while Minnesota Duluth’s Jennifer Harss finished the game with 27 saves, conceding four goals.
"I thought our effort was better from start to finish,” said head coach Mark Johnson. “You are playing against a team that is scratching and clawing trying to figure out how to win games late in the season. I thought we responded well on giving up the goal eight seconds into the game. Overall it was a pretty good effort. Certainly pleased with the victory. There's big difference in winning that in overtime than going to a shootout."
The Bulldogs wasted no time putting the first point on the board just nine seconds into the start of play. UMD’s Jessica Wong stole the puck for a breakaway giving her the clear path to the early 1-0 lead.
The fast-paced start continued as Decker tied the game up at the 6:44 mark in the first period. Decker got the goal off a rebound after both Ammerman and Prévost took swipes on it.
“Chemistry is huge and when you get scored on a lot of times the energy on the bench can really go down,” Decker said. “The key to getting that energy back is the next shift after they score. Either just creating an offensive shot, blocking a shot or anything like that can get the team going. It is really important to move on and move forward with the game.”
Both teams continued the hard battle into the second period until the Badgers capitalized on a UMD penalty at the 13:00 minute mark. Prévost picked up a rebound from a blocked shot by Knight and found Decker open in front of the net. Decker put the puck in to give Wisconsin the 2-1 advantage.
Two minutes later, Wisconsin pushed its lead with another power-play goal. Ammerman received the puck down in the corner and walked toward the net. Along the goal line she found a gap between Harss’ leg pad and the pipe, squeezing the puck past the junior goaltender to put the Badgers 3-1.
However, Duluth responded when Zoe Hickel tallied a goal just 22 seconds after Ammerman’s to cut the lead to one. Before the end of the second period the Bulldogs’ Tea Villila would score another goal to tie the game at 3-3.
The third period saw a back-and-forth struggle for control of the game, but the score remained tied as regulation ended.
Wisconsin won the opening faceoff in overtime and never looked back. Ammerman snagged Decker’s shot after a scramble in front of the crease and found the back of the net to end the game with a 4-3 Badger victory.
"The power play last weekend was pretty good, for whatever reason yesterday passes weren't collecting, clicking and connecting,” Johnson said. “Today it gave us a 3-1 lead. Two power-play goals on a 1-1 tie and all of a sudden you're up 3-1. They kept fighting and it's going to come down to a chest match in the last seven, eight, ten, twelve minutes and who's going to flinch, who's going to make a play and who's going to create an opportunity to get their team a victory. It seemed like it was going to be a one-goal game and whoever scored, whether it was in regulation or obviously in overtime, was going to be victorious."
The Badgers continue their homestand next weekend playing host to Bemidji State on Jan. 27-28. Saturday’s game is the Badgers’ third annual “Fill the Bowl” game. Admission for the game costs $1 and UW students receive free entrance.