The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (4-6, 2-2-1 Big Ten) split the first border battle series of the season against the fifth ranked University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-4, 3-1).
It was the Badgers’ fifth and sixth straight games against a top five team in the country. In their previous games, they were swept by the St. Cloud State Huskies and split a series with the Michigan Wolverines.
Overall, Wisconsin went 2-4 in their six-game schedule gauntlet — a test that will prepare the team for the rest of the season.
In the opening game of the two-game set against the Gophers, fans at the Kohl Center participated in a “Red Out,” donning their best red Wisconsin apparel. The two teams fought through the first period but remained just about even in every category, with neither team scoring and both teams firing 13 shots on net.
In the second period, Minnesota forward captain Sammy Walker threw the puck at the net and deposited his own rebound from his knees off the pad of Jared Moe to put the Gophers out to a 1-0 lead. Minnesota followed this up with another goal eight minutes later from forward Blake McLaughlin on a two-on-one break against the Badger defense, extending the lead to 2-0.
The Badgers then responded with two goals of their own, just 17 seconds apart. The first goal came off a Corson Ceulemans one timer on the powerplay in his first collegiate goal. This was followed up by a goal from Jack Gorniak off a slick centering pass from freshman Liam Malmquist, evening the game at two-two. Minnesota capped off the crazy second period by reclaiming the lead on a goal that Wisconsin accidentally put into their own net on a delayed penalty.
Wisconsin opened the third period with effort worthy of tying the game, which paid off two minutes in when Brock Caufield beat goalie Jack LaFontaine on a partial breakaway. With the game tied at three, the teams battled toward the end of regulation, but neither were able to take the lead. In overtime, Caufield scored again to give the Badgers the victory, capping off a back-and-forth game.
In the second game of the series, the Gophers came out flying and quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead within the first 15 minutes of play. They received goals from Matthew Knies, Aaron Huglen and Jaxon Nelson, who all put the puck past goaltender Cameron Rowe. The first period ended with the score at 3-0.
The middle frame of the game began with a lot of action. The Badgers scored their first goal of the game just 51 seconds into the period on the power play on a shot from Roman Ahcan. Minnesota responded immediately, stretching their lead back to three goals 16 seconds later.
Cameron Rowe was replaced by Jared Moe in net after conceding the fourth goal of the game. There would be no more goals and the Badgers would drop the second game of the series, 4-1 on home ice.
The Badgers will be on the road for their next four games at Notre Dame Nov. 12-13 and at Michigan State Nov. 19-20 before returning to the Kohl Center to take on Clarkson.