No. 2 Minnesota swept by No. 1 Wisconsin in the Border Battle

It was the first time this season that the Gophers have been swept.

Gophers Goaltender Makayla Pahl watches the puck at Ridder Arena on Friday, Jan. 17.  Minnesota suffered a 1-4 loss to Ohio State. (Kamaan Richards / Minnesota Daily)

Kamaan Richards

Gophers Goaltender Makayla Pahl watches the puck at Ridder Arena on Friday, Jan. 17. Minnesota suffered a 1-4 loss to Ohio State. (Kamaan Richards / Minnesota Daily)

Matthew Kennedy

The Minnesota women’s hockey team experienced their worst weekend of the season in a rematch with the top-ranked team in the country, the Wisconsin Badgers. 

On Friday, the Gophers erased a 3-1 deficit to force overtime but couldn’t complete the comeback, falling 5-4 in overtime. On Saturday, it wasn’t nearly as close and the Gophers lost 3-0.

Furious comeback comes up short in overtime

The Gophers looked overmatched for the first two periods on Friday in Madison. After the Badgers led 1-0 after the first period, Wisconsin grew its lead to 4-1 at the conclusion of the second. 

“In the second period, the game got away from us a little bit and Wisconsin scored three quick ones, so we need to defend a little better and capture the momentum at times a little better,” head coach Brad Frost told Gopher Sports.

The Gophers didn’t let their confidence fade, however, and the third period was some of their best hockey all season. Grace Zumwinkle scored her second of the game and the Potomak sisters, Sarah and Amy, both scored goals, with Amy Potomak tying the game with five minutes to play.

Minnesota seemed to have all the momentum going into overtime but 52 seconds into the period, Sophie Shirley, the nation’s second leading scorer, scored her 21st goal of the season and left the Gophers with a bittersweet ending to a tremendous comeback. 

“I’m really proud of our team,” Frost told Gopher Sports. “Obviously it hurts to lose this one here tonight in overtime. Down 4-1 in the third period and just the belief that our team had that they could come back — and they proved it, getting it to 4-4 and sending it to OT.”

Gophers shut out for first time this season on Saturday, 3-0

Despite losing Friday’s game, the momentum was seemingly on the Gophers’ side following their furious comeback attempt in the third period.

That wasn’t the case on Saturday.

Both teams put 22 shots on goal, however, only one team was able to put any past the opposing goaltender as the Badgers scored three times to easily sweep Minnesota.

After letting in five goals just 24 hours earlier, Sydney Scobee struggled once more against the offensive attack from Wisconsin. 

The game featured strong defense from both teams, and as said before, both teams only allowed 22 shots and no first period goals. However, in the second period, Wisconsin’s Presley Norby scored twice and the Gophers could not recover like the night before, with Watts sliding in an empty-netter to seal the win.  

“We couldn’t get the same magic we had last night. We had some great chances, but we couldn’t find the back of the net,” Frost told Gopher Sports. “We’re disappointed to not come away with any points here this weekend, but we’re going to regroup and be ready to go against Duluth. We’re looking forward to another strong matchup.” 

That matchup, at Ridder Arena next weekend, is against another highly ranked team, the No. 9 Bulldogs.