MADISON, Wis. --- The University of North Dakota women's hockey team welcomed the opportunity of facing the defending national champions and top-ranked team to open the season and they proved why. The Sioux came away with what is probably their biggest win in program history as they went into Madison, Wis., and shut out the #1 Wisconsin Badgers 2-0 on the night they hung their national championship banner.
Freshman Ashley Furia (Sedalia, Colo.) and senior Alex Williams (Eagan, Minn.) scored for the Sioux (1-0-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) while redshirt freshman Jorid Dagfinrud (Sarpsborg, Norway), in her first collegiate start, shut the door on Wisconsin (0-1-0, 0-1-0 WCHA) with 29 saves.
In a back-and-forth first period the Sioux were able to kill a 5-on-3 Wisconsin power play which gave them a little momentum and then all of the momentum only a few minutes later when Furia was able to score her first collegiate goal in the closing seconds of the period.
Sophomore Sara Dagenais was able to feed her the puck and Furia put a wrist shot on net, went around the defender to find her own rebound and chipped it over Wisconsin backstop Alannah McCready at the 19:22 mark. Sophomore Ashley Holmes (Miltona, Minn.) also assisted on the goal.
A determined badger team came out in the second period after edging the Sioux in shots 8-6 in the first stanza, and dominated the flow of play early.
Only 33 seconds in the Badgers had their best scoring chance of the game as a winger from the slot fired a wrist shot in on Dagfinrud. The shot went of her glove and the Sioux netminder initially lost sight of the puck which ended up right behind her, but was able to locate it and sprawl on it before any damage could be done.
The Badgers outshot the Sioux 15-7 in the period but with Dagfinrud coming up with save after save, it was the Sioux that struck the next blow on the scoreboard.
Junior transfer Janet Babchishin was able to force a turnover and find Williams who skated in on a breakaway and sniped a wrist shot, far-side, in the top corner above McCready's glove. The goal was another late one as it came at 18:35.
After a shakey second period, the Sioux looked like the team of the first period that was skating right alongside of the defending champs, as they were the ones putting the early pressure on net to begin the final 20 minutes. In doing so, the Sioux forced Wisconsin to take six penalties in the period and would outshoot the team in desperate need of scoring chances 7-6 to seal the win.
Both teams would conclude the game scoreless on the man-advantage with the Sioux going 0-for-6 and the Badgers 0-for-5.
The shutout loss at home was the first time for Wisconsin since Minnesota-Duluth defeated the Badgers 2-0 on Nov. 2, 2005, and it was the first home loss to a team other then UMD or Minnesota since Nov. 1, 2003, when Ohio State edged the Badgers, 3-2.
The Sioux and Badgers will conclude the series tomorrow night with an opening face off scheduled for 7:07 p.m.