Observations from Minnesota's 3-1 loss to Wisconsin

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Not Easy Being Number One
After ascending to the top ranking in the country from the No. 19 spot just ten games into the season, the Gophers dropped to 2-6-1 in their last nine contests as the top-ranked team in the country on Friday. The last time UM was No. 1 in 2008, it lost to Michigan 6-3 and tied Michigan State 4-4 at home in the College Hockey Showcase after a road split with Denver. The loss was also Minnesota's first in WCHA play. The Gophers were the last team in the league to lose an in-conference game and are still in first place by three points at 6-1-0. It was also UM's first road loss after sweeping league foes Minnesota-Duluth and Alaska Anchorage away from Mariucci Arena.

Quick Strikes
Just like in their 5-4 loss to Vermont where they gave up three goals in just over three minutes to fall behind in the second period, the Gophers afforded their opponent three goals in a short time span in the second period on Friday. The Badgers scored all three of their goals in a 5:38 span in the second period to win their first game against Minnesota at the Kohl Center since Nov. 6, 2009. UW also held the Gophers off the scoreboard for the first two periods after UM had scored in each of its first 13 periods, including overtime, on the road this season. 

Full of Youth
The Gophers-Badgers game on Friday night was full of young players. A total of ten upperclassmen dressed for the two teams combined, including UW junior goalie Mitch Thompson, who didn't play. Three of the game's four goals were scored by sophomores. Jake Hansen's goal with 1:09 left to play was the only goal scored by a junior or senior.

Rumpel Earning His Time
After going with freshman Landon Peterson in the first game in each of their first five series this year, the Badgers started fellow rookie Joel Rumpel in net on Friday. Rumpel entered the night with the better statistics, holding a 3-1-1 record despite a 4-5-1 start by UW overall. The 6-foot-3, 190 pound goaltender added to his resume by making many timely saves in a 24-save winning effort over No.1 Minnesota.

Trying to Shut Down Down Schultz
He may be a defenseman, but Wisconsin's Justin Schultz is one of the top point producers in the nation. He showed why on Friday. In addition to coming close to goals on many attempts in the first, Schultz sprung Michael Mersch on a breakaway that created UW's third goal. The assist, his second of the night, added to his nation leading (by a defenseman) point total. He now has 16 points (4g-12a) on the year after he was a Hobey Baker Award finalist and first-team All-American last season.

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