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Tight Thursday contest goes down to bitter end with Badgers stunning Gophers

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Minnesota and Wisconsin played in Madison on an unusual night on Thursday to kick off their weekend series. Adam Wilcox was in the net for Minnesota while Joel Rumpel got the start for Wisconsin.

In the first minute of the game, Minnesota’s Travis Boyd got the opening shot of the game as Minnesota rushed into Wisconsin’s defensive end. The first few minutes required both teams to feel each other out to get a sense of how the game’s early minutes would go. Just short of four minutes into the game, Wisconsin’s Brad Navin launched the first Badger shot on goal.

Through the first few minutes, neither team had a penalty go against them and because of that, both teams were able to play a dump and chase type game.

At 13:04, Minnesota’s Justin Holl would take the first penalty of the game for interference, resulting in a Badger power play. At 14:47, Wisconsin’s Frankie Simonelli scored his sixth goal of the year off assists from Joseph LaBate and Kevin Schulze.

At 17:20, Minnesota’s Taylor Cammarata capitalized on even strength with an assist from Kyle Rau to tie the game. Eddie Wittchow took a tripping penalty at 18:08, but the Gophers would enter the second period with eight seconds of power play. Shots after twenty minutes favored Minnesota 7-6.

As the second period started, both teams started slow yet each team had four shots on goal through the first five minutes. Shots overall through twenty-nine minutes favored Minnesota 13-11 and neither team could take advantage.

Both goaltenders—Wilcox and Rumpel—were making save after save to keep the score tied as the second period started down the stretch. Each goaltender had double-digit saves through 13:37, with Wilcox at thirteen and Rumpel at fifteen.

As forty minutes went in the book, shots on goal favored Minnesota 22-16.

The third period got underway with Minnesota's Kyle Rau got the first real breakout chance of the final twenty only to be stopped by Wisconsin's Rumpel. Wisconsin's Joseph LaBate would be called for roughing at 3:48.

The ensuing Gopher power play, which was their third of the night, came up empty in their advantage. The penalty to LaBate was only the fourth of the game that was called. As the third period strolled along, Minnesota had eight of the official nine shots on goal through twelve minutes, but neither team could put the biscuit in the net.

At 13:47, Wisconsin's Jake McCabe unleashed a patient shot to put Wisconsin ahead 2-1. The goal came on even strength. Jedd Soleway was credited with the lone assist. Frankie Simonelli was called for holding the stick at 19:32, giving Minnesota an abbreviated fourth power play.

As the end of the game came, McCabe's goal was the difference. Minnesota also finished 0-4 on the power play to Wisconsin's 1-1. Shots on goal favored Minnesota 32-19.

Minnesota and Wisconsin duel once more at 8pm CT on Friday. A complete scoresheet from Thursday can be found here.

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!

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