Hockey Day Minnesota continues on as the Minnesota Gophers took to the ice against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Kohl Center in Madison. The Gophers came out looking pretty good in the game, but a big 2nd period by the Badgers would doom the Gophers who would fall to the rival Badgers <final score>.
Will Johnson would start the scoring for the Badgers, his 7th goal on the season about midway through the 1st period. Johnson was able to streak into the Gophers zone and get around the defenders in the left circle. Eric Schierhorn would drop to cover the low angle and Johnson deked around him with a nice move to deposit the puck in the Gophers net.
At the 16:38 mark of the 1st period, the Gophers would even up the score with Ryan Norman able to beat Matt Jurusik from right out front. Norman had just set up camp in the slot when Jack Sedak fed the puck to him. With one motion Norman was able to put the puck in the net and we were tied up 1-1.
Moments later, Mike Szmatula would put the Gophers on top with a 4-v-4 goal. Brent Gates was able to wreak some havoc among 3 Badgers as they tried to exit the zone. Gates then fed the puck over to the left circle where Szmatula was skating through all alone. Szmatula crossed up Jurusik and was able to tuck a puck in underneath him.
The 1st period would end with the Gophers up 2-1, and they came out in the 2nd period not looking bad as they were testing Jurusik throughout the frame but the Badger net minder was able to turn them away. Then the wheels came off the bus for the Gophers.
In the span of 5:06 the Badgers would get 3 pucks past Schierhorn and firmly plant themselves into a lane to win the game. Getting the party started for the Badgers would be Cameron Hughes who beat his defender as he curled in behind the net. A shot had gone wide and he was there to collect it and sneak it past Schierhorn on a wrap around shot.
Tim Davidson would continue the party with his 1st goal of the season. Davidson would collect the puck along the right wall and move towards center. Along the way he flung a wrister on net that Schierhorn was late to react to. Putting the Badgers up 3-2 in the 2nd half of the 2nd period, but they weren’t done.
Corbin McGuire would tip in a shot on the power play for the Badgers, giving them a 2 goal lead with time starting to dwindle in the 2nd period. Schierhorn would do everything in his power on this one, but a complete defensive breakdown led to multiple rebounds off shots and a final dive to attempt to save the McGuire shot was in vain. The Badgers would finish the period with a 4-2 lead, and all but 15 seconds of a power play to work with heading into the 3rd.
Trent Frederic would score just 57 seconds into the 3rd period on the power play to increase the Badgers lead to 5-2. Frederic was camped out in front and as the puck came into the slot it bounced off some players and found his stick. All 4 Gopher skaters on the ice at the time were standing around after the goal wondering what happened. They were all in the vicinity but none could clear the puck away from danger.
Justin Kloos would get a garbage time goal for the Gophers with under a minute remaining in the game to make the game look a little more respectable on paper than it was live. That was it as far as any comeback for the Gophers though as they fell to the Badgers 5-3, splitting their weekend series in Madison. Luke Kunin, Wild prospect and captain of the Gold Medal winning US Under 20 team in the World Juniors just recently finished the game with an assist.
Of course, Hockey Day Minnesota continues with the Minnesota Wild taking on the Anaheim Ducks at the Xcel Energy Center with the hopes of closing out the day of celebration with a big win for Minnesota.