Rigsby fundamental in Badgers success

first_imgFans at the Kohl Center numbered 12,402 for Saturday’s women’s hockey game, an NCAA record for the sport. But instead of witnessing another dominating game from the Wisconsin offense, they were treated to defensive struggle with the Badgers outlasting North Dakota by scoring the game’s lone goal in the third period from Hilary Knight.[/media-credit]Sophomore goaltender Alex Rigsby is quietly becoming one of the best goalies in the nation, backing up the Badgers’ high-scoring offensive attack and consistently being one of the team’s top-performers.This weekend against Bemidji State, Wisconsin’s offense struggled to score points – an uncommon obstacle for the top-ranked women’s hockey team in the nation. Rigby’s shutout on Saturday night and solid showing Friday evening were crucial in Wisconsin finishing with a season sweep over Bemidji State.It took until late in the third period Saturday night for the Badgers to score. Forward Hilary Knight scored off a behind-the-back pass from Brittany Ammerman. Until that point, the game had been a duel between Rigsby and BSU goalie Zuzana Tomcikova. Rigsby played well under the pressure, not having the luxury of allowing any goals because of the Badgers’ offensive woes.“I don’t really get worked up over the pressure. I don’t get nervous,” Rigsby said. “So I just took it as more of a challenge to go into the third period tied 0-0, and especially at the end when they pulled their goalie it’s pretty fun to go in. They have that extra attacker, so you know they’re going to be pushing hard and we just have to push right back, and I think our team did a great job.”The success isn’t anything new for Rigsby. The sophomore was second in the nation with a .947 save percentage and ranked third nationally with 697 saves heading into the series with Bemidji State. Her stats certainly will continue to rise after recording 65 saves and only allowing two goals against the Beavers this weekend.“She’s been consistent all year, I mean our first game up until tonight,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “She’s played strong, she’s given us an opportunity to win and when we bend, she makes sure we don’t break. Certainly at different points in the game tonight she came up with some key saves and did a great job to earn the shutout.”Bemidji State struggled in its first meeting with the Badgers this year when it was outscored 9-2 at home. This weekend the Beavers defensive play was much improved, disrupting the up-tempo offense of the Badgers. Knight gave UW the game-winning goal, but she has a great appreciation for Rigby’s consistent performance in goal.“We probably rely on [Rigsby] a little too much actually,” Knight joked. “She’s a great goaltender and a great addition to our team. And I think sometimes we get into the habit of moving aside and kind of letting her come up big when we really need to support her a little more, as we didn’t do up in North Dakota. But you know, it’s a learning process and as long as we can get to the final game of the year, we’re gonna learn something.”Rigsby’s sixth shutout of the season came on the night of the annual “Fill the Bowl” event at the Kohl Center. Admission was just $1, and all proceeds went to the Second Harvest Food Bank. The official attendance was 12,402, which broke last year’s “Fill the Bowl” attendance of 10,688 and set a new NCAA Division I women’s attendance record.“It was just so exciting to have that [attendance], and to break the record was unbelievable,” Rigsby said. “I knew it was going to be close [to the record], but I think we got 12,400 fans, so it just shows how great the Badger community is and it feels great to be a Badger.”last_img

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