(ISN) – MADISON, Wis. — In a top-10 showdown at LaBahn Arena Friday night, the No. 3 Wisconsin women’s hockey team battled No. 7 Minnesota Duluth to a 0-0 tie in a game featuring two of the top three teams in the WCHA.
Wisconsin (21-4-4, 16-4-3-1 WCHA) took the extra point in the standings, defeating Minnesota Duluth (17-7-5, 12-7-4-2), 2-1, in the shootout. Annie Pankowski scored in the second round to give UW a 1-0 advantage, but Katerina Mrazova scored in the third round to knot the shootout at 1. In the fourth round, Sydney McKibbon gave UW a 2-1 lead and Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped Jenna McParland’s shot to give UW its first shootout win of the season.
“It was like a playoff game tonight,” UW head coach Mark Johnson said. “Both teams played hard, both teams defended well. Obviously when either team got an opportunity, both goaltenders played very well, so it was a hard fought game, and neither group was able to capitalize on the opportunities.”
Wisconsin outshot Minnesota Duluth 41-23, marking the 27th time this season that the Badgers have outshot their opponents. UW has also tallied 40 or more shots in 19 of its 29 games this season.
“I think you have to just keep shooting,” McKibbon said. “When you have 40 shots on net, you just have to keep shooting and eventually it’s going to go in. I think if we have 40 shots tomorrow night, we’ll have more goals.”
“We had good opportunities,” Johnson said. “We are trying to get those good looks and opportunities, and if you do, you can hopefully capitalize on them better.”
Desbiens was spectacular between the Wisconsin pipes, stopping all 23 shots she faced, while UMD’s Kayla Black was equally impressive in net, earning 41 saves in the tie.
“I think it’s huge when we have Ann-Renee (Desbiens) in the net, she’s a great goaltender,” McKibbon said. “When we’re all playing a good defensive game that helps. When everyone is thinking defense first, Ann-Renee can get the shutout.”
Wisconsin held UMD scoreless on all three of its power-play chances. The Badgers have not allowed a power-play goal since Oct. 24, 2014 and lead the nation in penalty killing with a conversion rate of .966.
The Badgers remain in second-place in the WCHA standings with 52 points, 10 points clear of third-place Minnesota Duluth.
“You’re five games away from the playoffs, so you picked a point up on them in the standings, so you walk away with two points,” Johnson said. “The big thing is to rebound, come back Saturday night, and put forth the same effort and if we get some chances, we have to bury a few.”
Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth wrap up their series on Saturday with a 7:30 p.m. contest. Prior to the game, the Badgers will honor their five seniors.