It was Badgers versus Gophers at the Kohl Center in Madison on a nine degree Friday night where the only change in lineups saw Minnesota’s AJ Michaelson play on the fourth line left wing. Adam Wilcox took Joel Rumpel on in the nets once again.
Wisconsin’s Brad Navin got the first shot on goal of the game in the opening two minutes, and the game felt faster in its early moments than did Thursday’s matchup. Through five minutes, the score still read doughnuts, but three different shooters lobbed the first four overall shots on goal. They were UW’s Brad Navin and Minnesota’s Connor Reilly as well as Taylor Cammarata.
The game’s first penalty did not come in the first eight minutes, as there was a lot of end to end play which permitted physicality. Wisconsin got the first call at 11:20 as Michael Mersch was cited by the stripes for tripping. Minnesota’s first power play of the game couldn’t produce in the scoring column, so as the first period entered its stretch run, the game remained scoreless. You could say defense had something to do with that.
Coincidental minor penalties were assessed at 17:28 against Minnesota’s Kyle Rau and Wisconsin’s Mark Zengerle for tripping. No goals were scored by either team in the four on four time.
At 19:40, Wisconsin’s Grant Besse slotted the first goal of the game on even strength with the assists going to Nic Kerdiles and Frankie Simonelli. Shots at the end of period number one favored Wisconsin 11-9.
At 0:50 of period two, Minnesota’s Hudson Fasching took a boarding call that many felt deserved more than the two minutes it got. Eddie Wittchow was assessed a two-minute penalty for goaltender interference at 3:58. Through 6:19, only five total shots on goal were put on net.
Both goaltenders were on their respective games as the middle of the game dawned, and Minnesota was being out-scoring chanced by the Badgers. Minnesota was also winning over two faceoffs for every faceoff Wisconsin was winning.
At 9:05 of the second period, Jake McCabe nailed Minnesota’s Kyle Rau to the head. As a result, McCabe was assessed a five-minute major plus game misconduct. Minnesota’s Hudson Fasching and Ben Marshall were given roughing after the whistle calls. McCabe was also assessed a two-minute minor for roughing after the whistle in the fisticuffs involving Fasching and Marshall.
Minnesota’s Seth Ambroz tied the game at one when he scored on the power play at 12:03. Justin Kloos and Ben Marshall (who was fresh from the sin bin) were credited with assists.
As the second period reached fifteen minutes elapsed, Minnesota was 1-4 on power plays compared to Wisconsin only having one shot and failing with it. The second period came to an end with the game tied and shots on goal favoring Wisconsin by an 18-15 margin.
Minnesota put the first three shots on goal in the third period and all were directed at Wisconsin's Joel Rumpel, and through the first four minutes, Minnesota had a 7-1 advantage. Wisconsin's Nic Kerdiles gave UW a 2-1 lead at 4:33 on even strength. Grant Besse was credited with the lone assist. The goal came on Wisconsin's second shot of the period.
As six and a half minutes remained, each team had a game high twenty-five shots on goal, and only twelve total players were without a shot on goal. Those twelve included both goaltenders.
Coincidental minors occurred at 14:48 as Minnesota's Seth Ambroz was called for high sticking and Wisconsin's Sean Little went for cross checking. The four on four time that ensued did not change the score, but as the game went on down the stretch, Minnesota needed to do everything in its power to put the brakes on a potential sweep.
When all was set and done, however, Wisconsin was able to complete the sweep. Shots on goal favored Minnesota 29-27, and power plays had Minnesota at 1-4 and Wisconsin at 0-1. Attached is a final scoresheet from the game.
Minnesota is off until Valentine's weekend when the Gophers host Michigan in a two-game series on Friday and Saturday, February 14-15.
Geoff Discher is Examiner.com's Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner as well as the National College Hockey Examiner. Leave a comment below, or feel free to reach him at Disch61@hotmail.com with comments, story ideas, or any general talk surrounding college hockey. You can find him on Facebook as well by clicking here as well as here and joining the conversation from the social media side as well. He's always chock full of fact and opinion. I’m also on Twitter @Disch_InTheVOX. Check it out!
Until next time, I'll see you at the rink!