MADISON, Wis. – The Badgers earned the series sweep over Minnesota State in dominating fashion with a 6-0 shutout on Sunday afternoon at the Kohl Center. Brittany Ammerman continued her point streak, scoring two goals and assisting on another, while nine other Badgers had a hand in the six goals.
“We played a three-period game and you haven’t seen that from us since for a couple weeks, even a couple months now,” Hilary Knight said. “I think it’s incredible just to see how different lines are stepping up and how different players are really getting into the different seams. It’s nice as a senior sitting back and looking that we’re starting to come together at the right time. Everything’s starting to come together, and especially all the hard work we’ve put into the season, the ups and downs, it’s looking nice right now.”
Heading into the two final weeks of conference play, Wisconsin (26-2-2, 20-2-2-1 WCHA) sits six points ahead of Minnesota in the league standings, and needs only two more wins to claim at least a share of the WCHA regular-season championship. Minnesota State (7-23-0, 3-21-0-0 WCHA) remains in last place in the conference.
Alex Rigsby tallied 17 saves and Nikki Kaasa stopped five shots to keep the Mavericks scoreless, as the Badgers recorded their ninth shutout win of the season. MSU’s Danielle Butters made 38 saves on the day, while giving up all six goals.
The first Badger goal started as a result from strong defensive pressure from Alev Kelter. With a poke check in the neutral zone, Kelter freed the puck to Brooke Ammerman who was able to spin away from a defender and get the puck to Brianna Decker. Decker then moved around Butters before roofing the puck, hitting the water bottle atop the net for her 29th goal of the season.
Later in the second period it would be Brittany Ammerman’s line that would notch a goal as Katarina Zgraja and Katy Josephs combined to feed Brittany Ammerman at the back door for her 7th goal of the season.
Just over five minutes later, the Badgers would be back on the prowl again when Blayre Turnbull scored after receiving help from Madison Packer. Wisconsin continued to push its lead as the final seconds ticked off in the period. Brittany Ammerman freed the puck to Knight, who ripped a slap shot past Butter’s glove with less than one second remaining on the clock.
The Badgers went up 5-0 when Brittany Ammerman netted her second goal of the game midway through the third period. Josephs and Knight recorded assists on the play.
“When kids get points and score goals in conference, their confidence is going to go up because it makes them feel good,” head coach Mark Johnson said. [Brittany Ammerman] skates well, she handles the puck well, and she’s competing. When you put all those things together, you’re going to be successful.”
Carolyne Prévost added the sixth and final goal at the 14:23 mark in the third period as the Badgers capitalized on their third power-play opportunity of the game. Knight started the play by making a long pass to Brooke Ammerman on the left side of the net. Ammerman then slid the puck across the crease to Prévost for the easy backdoor goal.
The Badgers skated a full 60 minutes without being assessed a single penalty, as Minnesota State was only called for three penalties in the game.
Wisconsin hits the road for the final time of the regular season next weekend to take on St. Cloud State. Game times are set for Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. at the National Hockey Center.