Women’s hockey shuts out Wisconsin

Noora Räty saved 32 shots in front of a record crowd at Ridder Arena.

Samuel Gordon

The No. 2 Minnesota women’s hockey team (18-3-1, 12-3-1 WCHA) defeated No. 1 Wisconsin (19-2-1, 13-2-1 WCHA) 1-0 on Saturday at Ridder Arena in front of a season-high 2,666 spectators.

Noora Räty was spectacular in between the pipes, saving all 32 shots she faced. Kelly Seeler scored the game-winner on a first period snipe from the blue line 6:31 into the first period. The goal was her first of the season.

“You always want to come out with a win against Wisconsin. Our whole team was rooting for that,” Seeler said. “Getting shots at the net, as many as we could, is exactly what we needed.”

The Gophers and Badgers each had several scoring opportunities throughout the evening. Both teams had five power play chances, and Minnesota had a 5-on-3 opportunity in the first minute of the second period.

But both penalty kill units held strong and kept the opponent from finding the back of the net.

Wisconsin paired leading goal-scorer Hilary Knight, a second-liner, with star Brianna Decker on the first line in the third period in hopes of generating more offensive pressure.

It worked, but Räty was up to the task and made some phenomenal saves down the stretch.

“I really wanted to win this one,” Räty said. “I hadn’t had much success against Wisconsin. I definitely had something to prove going into this weekend…. Now I know that I can really beat Wisconsin.”

The Badgers hadn’t been shut out since Feb. 7, 2010, when they fell to Bemidji State 2-0.

“To keep Wisconsin off the board all game there and to shut them out was pretty special,” Gophers head coach Brad Frost said.

Minnesota will travel to Duluth for a series with UMD next weekend.