No. 7/8 North Dakota (14-8-6, 9-5-6 WCHA) scored 45 seconds into the game on a power play and never looked back on Saturday night, defeating No. 19 Wisconsin, 4-1.
The Badgers (11-9-6, 8-6-6 WCHA) faced a fired up and efficient North Dakota team, fueled by a home crowd of 11,962 inside the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
An early power-play score by North Dakota set the tone early and was carried throughout the game, as Wisconsin faced a total of eight power plays and allowed two goals. The Badgers had power-play opportunities as well, but were unable to score, going 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
Mark MacMillan earned the first power play for North Dakota, as he lit the home lamp just 45 seconds into the game after the team had earned a power play just 30 seconds after the opening faceoff.
North Dakota extended its lead to 2-0 in the first period at the 13:24 mark, when Corban Knight snuck a pass through two Badgers and found the stick of Joe Gleason who had an easy tap in and power-play score.
For the first time in 17 games, Wisconsin trailed by more than a goal, as North Dakota took a 2-0 and plenty of momentum off the ice with them and into the locker room to end the first period.
Michael Parks extended the North Dakota lead to 3-0 at the 8:17 mark of the second period, taking a feed on the backside, then beat Landon Peterson (Oregon, Wis.) for the score.
Earning the starting nod in back-to-back games on the weekend for the first time in his career, Peterson returned to net for Wisconsin. The sophomore recorded 25 saves, but faced off against an efficient North Dakota offense that was clicking all night, led by Parks.
Parks broke things open by scoring again at the 16:18 mark of the period, as he took an initial shot that was blocked by Peterson and wide, then wrapped around the back of the net and scored. Trailing 4-0, it was the first time all season Wisconsin had faced a four-goal deficit.
Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) was able to break the shutout and get the Badgers on the board. As North Dakota goaltender Zane Gothberg went out to play the puck, Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.) made a nice play to steal the pass, then passed off to Joseph LaBate (Eagan, Minn.), who’s shot was blocked, but Zengerle finished.
Losing by a three-goal margin for the first time this season, Wisconsin’s WCHA unbeaten streak came to an end at 11 games (7-0-4).
The game marked the 163rd meeting Wisconsin and North Dakota and final regular-season matchup between the longtime rivals as members of the WCHA. Next season, Wisconsin will become a member of the Big Ten, while North Dakota will move to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Wisconsin returns home next weekend looking to bounce back as it welcomes in Bemidji State to the Kohl Center. Opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m. (CT) next Friday.