The senior class was honored before Saturday night’s game at the Kohl Center, but the team did not really show up. Minnesota (18-13-1, 9-10-1-1 Big Ten) dominated Wisconsin (14-15-4, 8-11-3-1 Big Ten) all over the ice en route to a 7-1 victory and weekend series sweep.
Minnesota struck first and they did not look back the entire night. Casey Mittlestadt carried the puck wide before feeding an open Leon Bristedt in front of the net for an easy goal just 67 seconds into the game. Mittlestadt’s speed turned Peter Tischke around on the play and Tischke could not recover in time.
Minnesota would tack on another midway through the period. Tyler Sheehy entered the zone and dropped the puck to Tommy Novak. Novak swung the puck cross-ice to Brent Gates whose one-timer beat Jack Berry to make it 2-0 Gophers.
After several penalties, the Gophers had a 4-on-3 man-advantage and they made the most of it. Defenseman Tyler Nanne beat Tim Davison wide before using his backhand to squeeze the puck through Jack Berry. That would be the end of Berry’s not as he was replaced by Kyle Hayton after giving up three goals on nine shots.
The Badgers would get on the board before the end of the first period. Cameron Hughes forced a turnover and took the puck right to the net. Trent Frederic opened up on the back door and Hughes was able to put the puck right on the tape as Frederic beat Minnesota’s Mat Robson to get the Badgers on the board.
Minnesota would start the second period similarly to the first. Mike Szmatula had his shot blocked but the rebound careened right to Rem Pitlick who pushed the puck between the legs of Hayton. 1:44 into the period and the Gophers once again held a three-goal lead.
A Wisconsin bench minor penalty opened the door for Minnesota to add to their lead. Rem Pitlick batted the puck out of mid-air for his second goal of the game. Minnesota would take a 5-1 lead into the third period.
Tyler Sheehy added a sixth goal for Minnesota on a breakaway with 9:31 remaining in the game. Jack Ramsey made the game 7-1 with a power-play goal late in the third.
The Badgers had seven power-plays, but could not find a way to capitalize on any of them. Mat Robson made 23 saves to earn his second win of the weekend for Minnesota. The Gophers looked more ready to play from the get-go and Wisconsin could never find another gear to fight back in the ugly loss.
Wisconsin drops to fifth in the Big Ten standings after the sweep.
The Badgers will look to bounce back on the 23rd as they head to Columbus to take on Ohio State for the final two games before the Big Ten tournament.