Feb. 8, 2009

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin men's hockey team (16-11-3, 13-7-2 WCHA) swept Minnesota (12-9-5, 9-8-3 WCHA) this Saturday in Minneapolis with a 5-4 win to tie Denver for the WCHA lead with 28 points in the battle for the league title.

In a heated battle on night two of the series, the Badgers and Gophers battled intensely throughout the entirety of the game. The Badgers found the early lead just over five minutes into the first period, but the Gophers quickly responded to tie the game with 9:31 left in the period. UW was able to find the net again in the last two minutes of the first to enter the first intermission with the lead. Wisconsin opened the second period with another quick goal, and Minnesota went on to score two goals in less than a minute to draw even with the Badgers. Wisconsin made it 4-3 halfway through the second, and found the net again halfway through the third to regain a two-goal lead. Minnesota scored the final goal of the game with about four minutes left in the game to reduce UW's lead to one, but was unable to find the net again in the last few minutes of the game.

Junior John Mitchell (Neenah, Wis.) put the first mark on the scoreboard 5:32 into the first period. Junior Jamie McBain (Faribault, Minn.) fired a shot from a tough angle to find the five-hole on Gopher goalkeeper Alex Kangas. Mitchell followed it up to tap it in for the early lead.

The Gophers responded midway through the first period to tie the game at 1-1. Ryan Stoa was credited with the goal after capitalizing on a centering pass in the UW zone with 9:31 left in the first.

Freshman Jordy Murray (Faribault, Minn.) gave the Badgers the lead again with1:59 left in the period, finishing off a backhand pass from McBain. Freshman Derek Stepan (Hastings, Minn.) was credited with that assist as well.

Sophomore Sean Dolan (St. Louis) scored Wisconsin's third goal 3:08 into the second period. Sophomore Cody Goloubef (Oakville, Ontario) intercepted an attempt clearing in the Gopher zone and blasted a wrist shot from near the blue line, which Dolan tipped in for the 3-1 lead.

Minnesota reduced Wisconsin's lead to one goal with 13:01 left in the second period. Ryan Flynn scored a short-handed goal on a two-on-one breakaway to make it 3-2.

The Gophers evened the score less than a minute later with 12:04 left in the period. Cade Fairchild beat senior Shane Connelly (Cheltenham, Pa.) immediately off a faceoff with a one-time to tie the game at three.

Wisconsin regained the lead with 10:23 left in the period with a power-play goal. McBain beat Kangas with a point shot through a screen by junior Blake Geoffrion (Brentwood, Tenn.) to make it 4-3.

The Badgers expanded their lead with 10:12 left in the third period. Goloubef sent a point shot into a mix in front of the Minnesota net where Mitchell (Neenah, Wis.) pushed the puck past Kangas for the 5-3 lead with his second goal of the night.

Minnesota reigned in the lead yet again with 3:57 left in the game when Tony Lucia scored on a rebound shot to seal off scoring at 5-4.

Wisconsin went one-for-five on the power play while Minnesota went one-for-four. Connelly saved 33 shots to Kangas' 25, and Minnesota outshot UW 37-30.