No. 1 Wisconsin beats No. 7 Gophers in comeback fashion 4-3

Claudia Kepler’s two goals in the third period helped propel Wisconsin to the victory

Max Biegert

  

The Gophers did all they could to hang with the best team in the nation, but they could not finish on top. 

Minnesota (20-9-3, 9-6-2) lost to Wisconsin (28-3-2, 19-2-2-2) 4-3 on the road on Friday night in Madison. The Badgers came back from being down two goals, two separate times to get the victory. Claudia Kepler scored two goals in the third period which resulted in the game tying and game winning shots. Senior Sydney Baldwin had two goals, both coming in the first period. Freshman Grace Zumwinkle added a goal in the second period. Wisconsin’s Sam Cogan also had two goals. 

“The number team in the country did a nice job coming back in front of their home crowd,” said head coach Brad Frost. “We are disappointed we weren’t able to win this one.”

The game-winning goal came from Kepler who ripped a shot past senior goaltender Sidney Peters on the same side she shot it from with 5:58 left to play in regulation. 

Just 32 seconds into the third period Kepler scored her first goal of the game during a power play. She charged the net and punch the puck through Peters. Wisconsin had the puck in their end of the ice most of the period as the Gophers were only able to suffice 14 shots the whole game. The Badgers ended the game with 37. 

“In the third we had some chances there, Wisconsin did a nice job of finding a way to win,” Frost said. 

The second period featured a lot of back and forth hockey. Wisconsin pulled within one goal twice. Cogan scored two goals off of rebound shots as Peters could not grab control of the puck and was out of position. 

Cogan scored two minutes into the second period to get the score to 2-1. A minute and a half later Zumwinkle scored on a slap shot off of a pass from Nicole Schammel. Cogan scored her second goal to make the game 3-2 going into the third period. Wisconsin controlled the puck for the majority of the period and went into the third period with a 19-10 lead in shot attempts. 

Baldwin’s first goal came with nine minutes remaining in the first period after Wisconsin turned the puck over and Taylor Wente gave her a pass for her drive into the back of the net. That was on Minnesota’s second shot of the night. Her second goal came off of a rebound. 

With one game remaining before the WCHA playoffs the first round of playoffs have been set. No. 3 seed Minnesota will host No. 6 seed St. Cloud State in a best-of-three series at Ridder Arena next weekend while No. 2 seed Ohio State hosts No. 7 seed Minnesota State, and No. 4 seed Minnesota Duluth hosts No. 5 seed Bemidji State. Wisconsin gets the first round bye after clinching the regular season title.