The No. 6 Wisconsin (23-10-2) women’s hockey team dropped a 2-1 decision to No. 7 North Dakota (26-10-1) in the semifinal round of the WCHA Final Face-Off at Ridder Arena Friday night.
Junior goaltender Alex Rigsby (Delafield, Wis.) made 32 saves, which included stopping 14-of-14 power-play shots by North Dakota, and freshman Erika Sowchuk (Fernie, B.C.) scored the Badgers’ lone goal.
Despite a late surge by the Badgers, which saw UW outshoot North Dakota 16-13 in the third period, UND held on to its early lead, established with a first-period goal by Ashley Furia and a late tally by Monique Lamoureux.
Sowchuk cut North Dakota’s 2-0 lead in half with 3:43 remaining in the third period. Senior winger Lauren Unser (West Salem, Wis.) skated the puck up the right side and navigated her way behind the UND net. She tipped a pass out front to Sowchuk, who poked it past North Dakota netminder Shelby Amsley-Benzie to put UW on the board.
The deciding goal came at 6:04 of the third period when Jocelyne Lamoureux found Monique Lamoureux off the faceoff, winning the draw back to her twin sister. Monique Lamoureux fired a quick shot from the point that found its way past Rigsby for the eventual game-winning tally.
UW had a five-on-three opportunity in the ninth minute of the third period, which included a great combination play by senior Saige Pacholok (Edmonton, Alberta), freshman Kim Drake (Mosinee, Wis.) and senior Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.). From the point, Pacholok found Drake along the left boards. Drake connected with Decker in the slot, but Amsley-Benzie made the save.
The Badgers maintained pressure late in the game, but could not solve Amsley-Benzie to force the tie. North Dakota outshot the Badgers 34-27 for the game.
Wisconsin went 0-for-3 with the man advantage while holding North Dakota scoreless on five power-play opportunities.
North Dakota will face the winner of Friday’s second semifinal between No. 1 Minnesota (36-0-0) and Ohio State (19-14-3) in Saturday’s WCHA Final Face-Off championship.
The NCAA tournament selection show is set for 5 p.m. Sunday. It will be broadcast live on NCAA.com.