Wisconsin hands Gophers first two losses

The series marks the first time they have been swept since 2007.

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John Hageman

The Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team could not fend off the reigning NCAA champion Badgers and were swept over the weekend in Madison. The Gophers fell 4-2 Friday to mark their first loss of the season. The 5-2 loss Sunday was the first time they have been swept in a weekend series since February 2007 against Minnesota-Duluth. No. 2 Minnesota falls to 8-2-0 overall and 6-2-0 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while No. 8 Wisconsin jumps to 5-3-0 overall and is now second in the WCHA. The Gophers struggled to keep Wisconsin away from their net Friday and were outshot 43-28. Sophomore Sarah Erickson put the Gophers on the board first, scoring just five minutes into the opening period. Wisconsin senior Jasmine Giles tied the game up two minutes later, but Minnesota quickly regained the lead when junior Laura May scored an unassisted goal to put the Gophers up 2-1 going into the second period. It was all Wisconsin after the first, however, as the Badgers scored three unanswered goals, including one three seconds before the end of the second, to defeat the Gophers 4-2. âÄúWe came out slow,âÄù Erickson said. âÄúAgainst a team like Wisconsin you canâÄôt be doing that. Against any team as a matter of fact you canâÄôt do that.âÄù Freshman goaltender Noora Räty, who had only allowed three goals on the season, suffered her first loss of her collegiate career Friday. Gophers head coach Brad Frost said he was disappointed with the effort his team showed on Friday, adding that his team was out-played throughout the game. Minnesota fell again on Sunday, despite out-shooting the Badgers 40-15. The team failed to get on the board first for the first time this season, as Wisconsin junior Mallory Deluce scored about nine minutes into the first period Erickson scored her WCHA-leading 10th goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1. Things seemed to be going in the right direction as Minnesota senior Kelli Blankenship scored her second goal of the year to give the Gophers a 2-1 lead . But the Badgers then poured on the goals, scoring two more in the first and one in each of the last two periods to beat Minnesota 5-2. Sophomore goaltender Alyssa Grogan took the loss and was pulled in favor of junior Jenny Lura in the third period. Although the Gophers were beaten by a bigger margin on Sunday, Frost said he was happy with his teamâÄôs play. âÄúI was really excited with our effort tonight,âÄù Frost said. âÄúI thought we played extremely hard. I was really happy with the way we responded.âÄù Erickson said the team just has to keep the little things in mind in order to get back to winning. âÄúI think weâÄôre on the right track after [SundayâÄôs] game,âÄù Erickson said. âÄúWe did a lot of good things, and weâÄôre not going to hang our heads about it because there are some things you just canâÄôt control.âÄù Minnesota will have next weekend off, which senior Michelle Maunu said will help give the team some time to work on mistakes that hurt them in the weekend series. The Gophers will head to Mankato on Nov.13-14 to take on the Mavericks at All Seasons Arena.