Bemidji Bound: No. 2 Badgers advance to WCHA Final Face-Off
MADISON -- In the No. 2-ranked Wisconsin women's hockey team's fifth consecutive game against WCHA-rival Minnesota State, junior Blayre Turnbull and sophomore Courtney Burke each lit the lamp to lift the Badgers to a 2-0 victory over the Mavericks, Sunday, in the series conclusion of the WCHA first round playoff series at LaBahn Arena.
After splitting the first two games of the series on Friday and Saturday, the conference rivals played physical from the start. But in a game with only one penalty call and nine seconds of 5-on-4 hockey, the Badgers proved to be too much for the Mavericks and earned a spot in the WCHA Final Face-Off next weekend in Bemidji, Minn.
"It was a battle," UW head coach Mark Johnson said. "Obviously both teams are going to be a little bit tired today. I thought our effort was very consistent. I was impressed by the way the players competed for 60 minutes, having played back-to-back games, playing against a team for the fifth time in a row. They earned the victory, which is important. Our backs were against the wall and we responded in a real positive way."
Six different players recorded points in the Badger win, as Turnbull scored her 17th goal of the season off assists by redshirt junior Brittany Ammerman and junior Katy Josephs, while Burke's fifth goal of the season was set-up by sophomore Rachel Jones and senior Natalie Berg.
"Overall I would say it went pretty well," Turnbull said. "Yesterday I think we dominated most of the game too, even though we came up on the short end of the scoreboard. But we knew going into the game that they were going to come out hard so we matched their intensity and we were able to score a couple goals and win."
Senior Alex Rigsby tallied her 99th career win in the victory, stopping all 21 of MSU's shots in her 30th career shutout to bring her season record to 16-5-2.
The Badgers outshot the Mavericks 7-6 in the first frame, but neither team was able to light the lamp before the close of the period.
But Wisconsin couldn't be held scoreless for long, as Turnbull sent a wrister off the post and into the back of the net to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead 5:27 into the middle frame. Shots on goal in the second period were 17-5 in favor of Wisconsin.
Burke finished the offensive strike for the Cardinal and White, spinning and flicking a 25-foot shot past MSU goaltender Danielle Butters at the 8:59 mark of the final stanza to give UW the 2-0 lead it would finish with. The Badgers outshot MSU 36-21 overall.
Wisconsin looks to continue its post-season success next weekend at the WCHA Final Face-Off in Bemidji, Minn. The Badgers will face North Dakota in a 4 p.m. tilt on Friday at the Sanford Center.
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