The Gophers came out with a chip on their shoulder after squandering a two goal lead the previous night and scored early and often. Minnesota celebrated Hockey Day in the state with a 5-2 drubbing of the Badgers.
The Gophers first goal came on the power play after Cameron Hughes was called for holding. Travis Boyd put away an easy rebound after Rumpel kicked away the first attempt to put the Gophers up 1-0 15:30 into the period.
The Gophers did not let up and Sam Warning put away a nice backhand past Rumpel to give the Gophers a two goal lead with 7:09 left in the period.
The puck was left just outside the crease and the Badgers defense failed to clear and Warning was in the right place at the right time for the Gophers to go up two.
Joel Rumpel showed a bit of frustration after the second goal complaining to the referee he was interfered with, but the goal stood.
The Badgers struggled to find any offense in the first period only mustering seven shots on Adam Wilcox.
The Gophers added to their lead on a controversial call late in the first period.
Sam Warning came flying in one on one with Rumpel. Rumpel managed to stop the shot with an outstretched leg but the puck was left sitting right on the goal line.
The Gopher’s Travis Boyd came flying in with Badger defenders surrounding him and the puck trickled into the net before the Wisconsin defense dis lodged the net.
The play was originally called no goal but on further review a goal was awarded to the Gophers to take a commanding 3-0 lead into the second period.
Minnesota continued their dominance into the second period.
The fourth goal came from Gopher’s Connor Reilly.
Reilly received a nice pass across the ice at the right faceoff circle and one time slap shot past Rumpel to give the Gophers a commanding four goal lead.
Wisconsin had a chance to get on the board as Kevin Schulze got slashed on a shorthanded break away and a penalty shot was called.
Schultze went high blocker side on Wilcox but the puck rang off the post and out to keep the Badgers down by four goals.
Wisconsin could not avoid the penalty bug in the second period and gave the Gophers many chances with the man advantage.
The Badgers penalty kill unit held strong keeping the lead to four heading late into the second period.
Unfortunately for the Badgers, the Gophers were not done.
Christian Isackson had the puck behind Rumpel and quickly wrapped around the net and shoved the puck past Joel.
This goal gave the Gophers a 5-0 lead and the game was basically over.
Grant Besse saved some face as the second period drew to a close with a nice wrist shot goal.
The goal was Besse ‘s fifth of the season and second of the series.
Minnesota went into the third period with the game secured but that didn’t mean it was over.
As the third period moved on the game got chippier and chippier.
The majority of the third period yielded no goals for either teams but after each whistle the pushing and shoving would escalate just a bit more.
This pushing and shoving lead to six Gophers being in the box at one time and gave the Badgers a five on three power play.
Besse found room and slid a puck past Wilcox for his second goal of the night and pulled the Badgers back within three.
With just over thirty seconds left to play, Eddie Wittchow laid a dangerous hit on Minnesota’s Leon Bristedt near center ice.
Mike Reilly retaliated toward Wittchow and more Badger and Gopher players added to the scrum and soon it was an all out fight.
This fight even included Joel Rumpel who was trying to pull a Minnesota Gopher off a teammate
Eddie Wittchow was given a game disqualification and Mike Reilly was issued a ten-minute game misconduct.
The game ended with a final score of 5-2 in favor of the Gophers.
The Badgers did not seem ready to compete in this game. After earning a tie and shootout win the night before, Minnesota came out dominate again and Wisconsin just could not keep up.
Wisconsin will next take on fellow Big Ten member Michigan in a home series starting Friday, January 23rd.