The Gophers collected a 3-2 victory in Madison against the Badgers.
Gophers Grab Game One
The Gophers kicked off the weekend with a big win in Madison by a score of 3-2. Minnesota now has lost only once in their last six contests at the Kohl Center against the Badgers. The Gophers pulled themselves to within three points of league-leading St. Cloud State and even with second-place North Dakota in the WCHA standings. Both St. Cloud State and North Dakota are idle this weekend, so the Gophers can make up more ground on Sunday during the OfficeMax Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field.
Power Play was Key
In a close game, special teams is always going to play a key role. Minnesota came into the game with a league-best mark of 25.2% on the power play. The percentage will only get better. All three goals for the Gophers came on the power play. Sam Warning scored late in the first period to tie the game at one on a juicy rebound. Nick Bjugstad scored late in the second period to give the Gophers a 2-1 lead with a blast from the point that clicked off the point. The Gophers final goal came in the third period when Seth Ambroz battled for space on top of the crease and slipped the puck past just over the line.
Got the Goaltending
Adam Wilcox has provided the Gophers with excellent goaltending all season and tonight was no different. On the road, in a hostile environment, Adam Wilcox made 28 saves. Wilcox flashed his patented glove early and often tonight. He also made a number of huge saves when Wisconsin pulled their goalie late in the game to get an extra attacker. The Badgers have now scored two goals or less in four straight games against the Gophers. Adam Wilcox was responsible for the last three games.
First Period Shot Barrage
Minnesota registered 20 shots in the first period. The period was more wide open and featured more chances for both sides than a typical matchup with the Badgers. The most important Gopher shot of the period came from Sam Warning. He evened the game with a power-play goal late in the period, cashing in a rebound from a good Ben Marshall shot. The Gophers had five shots on the late power play alone. The second and third periods were tighter checking as the neutral zone became harder to navigate.
Hockey City Classic is Next
This week, Minnesota coaches and players all emphasized the
importance of tonight's game. Now, with the battle in Madison over, everyone can
turn their attention to Sunday's OfficeMax Hockey City Classic. The Gophers
will bus down to Chicago before having a practice on Soldier Field at 4:45 p.m.
Saturday. The Maroon & Gold will play their first outdoor game in the
modern era against the Badgers at 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The game can be
seen on BTN.
Story Written by University of Minnesota Student Intern Josh Brennock