Minnesota Duluth returned its leading scorer, freshman forward Gabbie Hughes, to the lineup Friday.
What the Bulldogs didn't get, however, was an end to its winless streak against Wisconsin. That was extended to 11 games via a 6-1 loss to the second-ranked and league-leading Badgers before a crowd of 894 at Amsoil Arena.
UMD will try and snap the skid while going for the series split during the regular-season home finale and annual "Cram the Am" event at 3:07 p.m. Saturday at Amsoil Arena. Tickets are $1 or free with a food donation.
"Emotions are high. There is a lot on the line right now, especially coming off of today," said UMD wing Emma Yanko, who is one of three Bulldogs that will be honored Saturday as part of Senior Day. "It's going to be huge. Everyone is fired up. We wanted to play as soon as we got back in that dressing room after the game ended."
Senior center Emily Clark scored twice for Wisconsin, which is now 9-0-2 in its last 11 games against the Bulldogs. Clark put UMD down 1-0 less than three minutes into the game before picking up her second with six minutes to play in the second period.
Junior wing Presley Norby, senior wing Annie Pankowski, freshman wing Sophie Shirley and senior wing Sam Cogan also scored for the Badgers.
Wisconsin redshirt junior goaltender Kristen Campbell finished with 19 saves while junior goalie Maddie Rooney made 27 saves on 31 shots for the Bulldogs in two periods of work. Rooney was replaced at the start of the third by freshman Emma Soderberg, who stopped 11 of 13 shots.
Bulldogs freshman defenseman Kailee Skinner ended Campbell's attempt at a shutout just 22 seconds into the third period to make it a 4-1 game. It was the Bulldogs' lone goal of the afternoon and one of the rare moments Yanko said that she and her teammates were comfortable fighting adversity.
"Even if we're down two, three goals, we have to be confident in our ability to come back," Yanko said. "I felt a little bit today once we got down, there wasn't as much fight as I thought we would give to get back."
Skinner was assisted by sophomore wing Anna Klein and Hughes, who was back on the ice after missing last weekend's home split against St. Cloud State due to injury.
Hughes leads the team in goals (15), assists (15) and points (30). She extended her point streak to four games after tallying two goals and three assists in the three games prior to getting injured. Eight of her goals and nine assists have come in the 11 games she's played since Christmas.
Coach Maura Crowell said Hughes looked good in her return. She is "back to old form," the coach added.
But UMD needs more than just one player to beat Wisconsin. Crowell said she needs everyone on her team to be "great" in fact in Saturday's series finale.
"We need to be great as a group to play a team like this and compete and win," said Crowell, whose team sits fourth in the WCHA with three games remaining in the regular season. "We can all look at ourselves and say, 'Were we great today?' And I'm pretty sure I know the answer. The good thing about all of this is we have another opportunity tomorrow to start fresh."
Minn. Duluth 0-0-1-1
First period - 1. UW, Emily Clark 10 (Maddie Rolfes) 3:44. Second period - 2. UW, Presley Norby 8 (Sophia Shaver), 6:01; 3. UW, Clark 11 (Annie Pankowski), 14:02; 4. UW, Pankowski 17, 19:45. Third period - 5. UMD, Kailee Skinner 2 (Gabbie Hughes, Anna Klein), 0:22; 6. UW, Sophie Shirley 18 (Abby Roque), 7:12; 7. UW, Sam Cogan 5 (Shirley, Nicole Lamantia), 17:26. Saves - Kristen Campbell, UW, 5-8-6-19; Maddie Rooney, UMD, 16-11-x-27; Emma Soderberg, UMD, x-x-11-11.