Gophers women’s hockey tie Badgers twice at home

Minnesota and Wisconsin only allowed one goal each in the series.

Nicole Schammel goes after the puck during the Gophers game against Wisconsin at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017.

Ellen Schmidt

Nicole Schammel goes after the puck during the Gophers’ game against Wisconsin at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017.

by Tommy Sletten

In an always-fierce border battle between the No. 1 Badgers and No. 4 Gophers, it was all about goaltending over the weekend.

Minnesota split with rival Wisconsin this weekend. The teams tied twice and went to two shootouts. The Gophers lost the first on Saturday but won the battle on Sunday.

“Two great teams,” said head coach Brad Frost. “Both goaltenders were tremendous, ours in particular with another great outing against Wisconsin.”

While Wisconsin (27-2-4, 22-2-4-3 WCHA) already secured the WCHA regular season championship, Minnesota (23-5-5, 19-4-5-3 WCHA) was playing for pride and momentum over the weekend and going into the WCHA Tournament next weekend.

Sunday night was all Peters.

She had a career-best game with 38 saves, not allowing any goals in regulation.

Peters even one-upped herself as the game headed to a shootout, making three acrobatic saves to ensure Minnesota won the extra point.

“There aren’t many feelings better than beating Wisconsin,” Peters said. “Every year, they’re one of our biggest rivals, and even though tonight wasn’t about the points… It was all about pride.”

Senior captain Lee Stecklein scored the final shootout goal for Minnesota and slid a shot past Wisconsin’s senior goaltending standout, Ann-Renee Desbiens, who had 35 saves on the night.

Meanwhile, redshirt junior Peters is getting hot at the right time with the playoffs set to begin.

“She was a wall,” Stecklein said of Peters. “She just played rock solid. I don’t know enough goalie terms to say what she did well, but everything was just on point.”

Peters showed some of her best stuff in the first game as well and made 30 saves on the night.

The Gophers held it together against Wisconsin on Saturday. The score was 1-1 after regulation.

Minnesota got its lone goal of the weekend from forward Nicole Schammel who was assisted by junior forward Kelly Pannek — her 40th assist of the season and an NCAA-best mark.

After overtime, Minnesota was unable to come out on top, and Wisconsin took the extra point.

Minnesota has now been undefeated in regulation since its January 14match against Minnesota-Duluth.

The Gophers hope to use the weekend’s success to roll into the WCHA Tournament and eventually the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s incredible we have another quick turnaround this weekend, so we have to stay healthy, and not get complacent,” Peters said.