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Badger goalie Desbiens closes door on UND again

Wisconsin has played three games in Ralph Engelstad Arena in the last two years with the nation's No. 1 ranking. The Badgers only managed to beat UND's goaltenders once in those three games. But when you have Ann-Renee Desbiens in net, one goal c...

Wisconsin has played three games in Ralph Engelstad Arena in the last two years with the nation's No. 1 ranking.

The Badgers only managed to beat UND's goaltenders once in those three games.

But when you have Ann-Renee Desbiens in net, one goal can be enough to get points.

Wisconsin's Emily Clark scored with 13:06 left in the third period and Sarah Nurse iced it with an empty-net goal as the Badgers beat UND 2-0 in a showdown between top-10 teams Saturday afternoon.

Desbiens, a Patty Kazmaier Award finalist a year ago, stopped all 17 UND shots on Saturday, including a breakaway to end the second period to earn her third shutout of the season and the 41st of her decorated college career.

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She also helped Wisconsin escape from Grand Forks with a conference point last year, despite the fact that the Badgers didn't score a goal on the weekend. One game ended in a 0-0 tie.

UND now has one goal in its last four games against Desbiens.

"She held the fort," UND coach Brian Idalski said. "When we were able to get a couple of breakaways and a five-on-three, she made some big, timely saves."

The ninth-ranked Fighting Hawks struggled to sustain an attack against Desbiens. They were outshot 9-5 in the first period and 19-2 in the second period.

"I thought Wisconsin played well and controlled big chunks of it," Idalski said. "They didn't give us a whole lot of time and space and caused us to turn the puck over a fair amount."

UND managed to stay in the game thanks to senior goalie Lexie Shaw. The netminder was brilliant in making 38 saves on Saturday, improving her numbers this season to 4-1-1 with a 0.98 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage.

The only goal she allowed against Wisconsin came on a net-mouth scramble midway through the third period. A loose puck trickled behind Shaw and Clark tapped it across the goal line for her fourth goal of the season.

That goal snapped Wisconsin's Ralph Engelstad Arena goal drought at 187:49.

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"She was fantastic," Idalski said of Shaw. "She got plenty of work. She was seeing pucks well. I thought she did a great job to give us a chance to pull some points out."

Shaw gave credit to her defenders, who blocked 21 shots, including seven by Gracen Hirschy and six by Anna Kilponen.

"We had my defense to help me out," Shaw said. "It's just easier to stay in the game when you get that puck action.

"It's not hard to play those games. You just have to know you're probably going to get a lot more work when you're playing the No. 1 team in the conference."

Now the challenge is finding offense against the nation's top goalie.

"I think we came out a little too late in the first two periods," Shaw said. "We kind of sat back on our heels. Our defensive corps was really good. They were blocking a lot of shots. They were clearing out my rebounds, which was helpful. I think we just need a little more offense tomorrow."

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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