As soon as the puck dropped in front of an almost entirely sold-out crowd at the Kohl Center Friday night, the Badgers (10-15-1, 5-12-1-1 Big Ten) came out hot. They managed to score two goals relatively early in the game and earned a 2–1 lead through the first seven minutes of the second period. Juniors Ty Pelton-Bryce and Tarek Baker each tallied a goal, with juniors Linus Weissbach and Sean Dhooghe on the assist.
After ending the first period tied at one and playing the majority of the second period tied at two, the Badgers always had the edge on the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (12-10-4, 7-5-4-3) in total shots — finishing the game with a 31–27 advantage.
Towards the end of the second period, Minnesota took advantage of a couple Badger missteps — scoring two more goals — and headed into the second intermission up 4–2. These two goals were just the start of the Minnesota attack, as they continued to score without any life from the Badgers offense. Minnesota scored the final five goals in the match, winning the game by a final score of 6–2.
Daniel Lebedeff had 18 saves in net for the Badgers before being benched and replaced by Jack Berry after the Gophers went up 4–2.
After this first game, the Gophers were rolling. Having won three games in a row and going 5-1 in their last six games, they carried great momentum into Saturday’s matchup. Not looking to slow down, the Gophers headed into Saturday night’s game on fire.
Recording his eighth career multi-point game with a first period goal and an assist to teammate Ty Emberson, Cole Caufield was the main contributor to the Badgers offense. The rest of the squad struggled throughout the contest to match his offensive production.
Caufield’s game-tying goal in the first period served as the only spark for the Badgers in Saturday’s game, as they did not score again until late in the third period. At that point, they were already down three goals and stood little chance of mounting a meaningful comeback.
Lebedeff remained on the bench for the second game of the series. Berry started in net for the Badgers and saved 21 shots, yielding an 84% save rate.
Next, the Badgers will face another Big Ten rival on the road. The University of Michigan Wolverines (11-12-3, 6-8-2-1) await the Badgers in what should be another chance for them to come back after losing three straight games and six of their last eight.
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It is one of their last chances to try and turn around what began as a highly promising season. Puck drop is at 5 p.m. Friday night and 6:30 p.m. Saturday night. Friday’s game will also be televised on the Big Ten Network.