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Wisconsin Badgers beat Gophers for title in razor-thin victory

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The Gophers women's hockey team lost the 2016 WCHA Final Face-Off title to the Wisconsin Badgers in a tense game at the Ridder Arena in Minneapolis on Sunday.

It was a scoreless game marked by ups and downs for both teams well into the second period, when the Badgers finally secured a one-goal lead they never let go of. The final score was 1-0.

Wisconsin player Sydey McKibbon scored what would turn out to be the winning goal at the 13:12 mark of the second period, the U of M reports. As the school's recap has it, McKibbon "poked a loose puck" past goaltender Amanda Leveille, ultimately resulting in the point.

Sunday's drama also included four power play opportunities for the U of M. One came when defender Melissa Channell was sent to the penalty box. When Channell got back out, there was an "abbreviated" power play for the University of Wisconsin, according to Gophers tweets.

And though the Badgers built up a lead in shots on goal (SOG) early on in the game, dogged U of M players managed to take the SOG lead in the third period – first with 23-19, and later, a respectable 29-22 over the Badgers.

Those statistics show the Gophers put UW junior goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens to work as they fought to close up the team's maddeningly small lead. According to WCHA, she stopped 35 shots in the game, helping her team hang onto to that one-point gap and win the Final Face-Off title.

Desbiens was dubbed Most Outstanding Player.

The Badgers have now secured a place in the NCAA tournament. As for the Gophers, they'll learn their "tournament fate" at the NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Selection Show at 8 p.m. Sunday night:

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