MADISON, Wis. --- The University of North Dakota women's hockey team tried to weather the storm early as the top-ranked Wisconsin Badgers came out guns blazing, but the defending national champions grabbed an early goal and hung on for a 3-0 win and opening-series split.
The preseason pick for the WCHA Rookie of the Year, Brianna Decker, scored her first collegiate goal 4:48 into the game. Jasmine Giles came up with a turnover in the Sioux zone, slid the puck to Decker in the slot who caught a couple defenders flat footed and went top-shelf for the goal. Dagfinrud couldn't get across the crease quick enough as Brooke Ammerman was right in front making it a wide-open net.
The Badgers Lauren Unser was able to tap in another wide-open net goal for their second goal of the game at 2:45 of the second stanza. Stephanie McKeough let loose a slap shot that redirected off Maria Evans shin-pad to the far side of the net where Unser was waiting back door.
Decker scored a more challenging goal at the 10:01 mark of the second period when she skated the puck in from the blue line, deeking both Sioux defenders going from her forehand to backhand for the goal. In the progress she was tripped up into the net and had to leave the game. The score would remain 3-0 heading into the second intermission.
The Sioux generated some pressure early in the third period forcing a Wisconsin penalty, but in a common theme of the series they couldn't take advantage.
UND went 0-for-3 in the game holding the Badgers 0-for-6 with both teams combining to go 0-for-17 in the series. The penalty-kill was a definite bright side for the Sioux looking forward as the Badgers had the nations best power play last season converting at 30.6 percent of the time.
With just over two and a half minutes remaining, the Sioux had a golden chance to break up Ruegsegger's shutout bid as freshman Mary Loken (Roseau, Minn) was able to find the puck behind the Wisconsin defenders for a breakaway opportunity but couldn't finish.
Redshirt freshman Jorid Dagfinrud (Sarpsborg, Norway) started in net for the Sioux again making 36 saves. Only twice all last season did a Sioux netminder play back-to-back games (both Brittany Kirkham and Stephanie Ney once).
The Sioux return to action on Oct. 10 as they will face off against the U.S. National Team in exhibition action in Warroad, Minn. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start.