VERONA, Wis. - A flurry of snow and cold weather welcomed 696 fans to the Eagle's Nest Friday night to watch the No. 2 Wisconsin women's hockey team shut out North Dakota 4-0 in the opening game of the first round of the WCHA Playoffs. The Badgers netted two short-handed goals and one power-play goal en route to their 30th win of the season.
With the win, UW extended its unbeaten streak to 20 games and improved its overall record to 30-1-4 on the season.
Wisconsin's Erika Lawler (Fitchburg, Mass.) tallied her 12th multi-point game and seventh multi-assist game, as the sophomore recorded assists on UW's third and fourth goals.
The first period was highlighted by a Wisconsin goal at the 3:24 mark and three penalties, including a five-minute major and game misconduct on UND captain Jenny Porter for checking from behind.
As most skaters from both squads headed down ice, UW's Emily Kranz (Waukesha, Wis.) stole the puck from a UND player near the crease and passed down to fellow freshman Kyla Sanders (Parrish, Fla.), who netted a goal on Wisconsin's first shot-on-goal of the game.
Sanders' 12th goal as a Badger was also her fourth game-winning goal of the season. It was Kranz's fifth assist as a Badger.
In the second period, Wisconsin scored three times all courtesy of their special teams.
Just 40 seconds after the first intermission with the Badgers on the power play, Sara Bauer (St. Catharines, Ontario) caught Bobbi-Jo Slusar's (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) in the crease to notch her 23rd goal of the season, putting the Badgers up 2-0.
At the 14:18 mark, on a short-handed breakaway opportunity, sophomore Angie Keseley (St. Louis Park, Minn.) made a move across the crease before sliding the puck under Kirkham to score her 11th goal of the season. Lawler and Meaghan Mikkelson (St. Albert, Alberta) assisted on the goal.
Less than two minutes later on 2-on-1, Lawler made a pass over to Zaugg who chipped the puck into the far upper corner of the net for her 24th goal of the season. The short-handed goal increased the Badger lead to 4-0.
On the night, the Badgers out-shot the Fighting Sioux 40-11. UW goaltender Jessie Vetter collected 11 saves in the Cottage Grove, Wis. native's 16th win and seventh shutout of the 2006-07 campaign.
Vetter's counterpart, Brittany Kirkham, recorded 36 saves in the game.
The Badgers will take on UND for a second time on Saturday beginning at 7:37 p.m. at the Eagle's Nest. If necessary, a third game will be played on Sunday evening at 7:37 p.m. to determine who advances to the WCHA Tournament in Minneapolis.
HUSKIES BITE BADGERS
HOUGHTON, Mich. - Wisconsin dropped a 2-0 decision at Michigan Tech, Friday at MacInness Student Ice Arena to fall to 14-16-3 and 11-12-2 in the WCHA this season.
In a game with few scoring chances, despite a plethora of power-play opportunities, the Badgers fell behind at 16:26 of the first period when Ryan Bunger tipped a point shot past Wisconsin goaltender Brian Elliott (Newmarket, Ontario) on the power play. Eli Vlaisavljevich took the original shot after taking a pass from Mike Batovanja.
Wisconsin did have a chance or two in the first period, including their best by defenseman Jeff Likens (Barrington, Ill.), who drove to the net on a rush and tipped a pass on Michigan Tech goaltender Michael-Lee Teslak, but the MTU goaltender made a sprawling save.
The teams skated a scoreless second period, reaching six power-plays for each team in the game by the time the clock counted to seven minutes left in the stanza. Wisconsin generated two solid scoring chances in the second, one created by Jack Skille (Madison, Wis.), who skated past the MTU defense, but lost the puck on a poke-checked by Teslak, to Ben Street (Coquitlam, B.C.), who sent the loose puck just wide of the goalmouth. Wisconsin's second chance was a wrist shot by Matthew Ford (West Hills, Calif.) from the bottom corner of the left circle that Teslak gloved to keep the Badgers off the board.
The Huskies tacked on an insurance tally at 8:16 of the third period when Justin St. Louis tapped in a rebound off the post from a Malcolm Gwilliam slapshot from along the right boards. The goal made it a 2-0 game, the final score of the contest.
Wisconsin went 0-for-6 on the power play, including a 538-second five-on-three during the first period. The Badgers managed just one power-play shot in the game. Michigan Tech finished 1-for-8 with the man advantage, failing on five-on-threes spanning 53 and 42 seconds during 4:25 of power-play time during the third period.
UW goaltender Brian Elliott made 22 saves in the loss, falling to 11-16-2, while Teslak improved to 7-5-3 with a 31-save effort.
The Badgers and Huskies (14-14-5, 9-11-5 WCHA) complete their WCHA series on Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. CT.