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Wisconsin hockey: Badgers lose first game of the season

Minnesota ended Wisconsin’s undefeated start to the season on Saturday afternoon.

Drew Hamm

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. - In front of a packed house at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers (10-1-0) faced off with the No. 2 Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-1-0) in the first game of the 2019-20 Border Battle series.

The Gophers handed the Badgers their first loss of the season, 4-2 on Saturday afternoon.

Minnesota dominated the puck for the opening five minutes of the game but couldn’t muster any scoring chances. The Badgers took a while to find their footing until an odd-woman rush down the ice led to a Daryl Watts snipe to put Wisconsin up 1-0. Linemates Sophie Shirley and Abby Roque had the helpers on Watts’ tenth goal of the season.

The Badgers dominated the rest of the period and ended up putting 10 shots on goal while the Gophers only managed to find Kristen Campbell’s pads with three of their 17 shots. Watts put on an offensive clinic in the first period in addition to her goal. She was all over the ice and registered five shots on goal herself.

The teams came out to start the second period with end to end action which saw both teams having scoring chances but the goalies were standing tall.

However, the Gophers quickly pounced on a Wisconsin turnover in their own zone and made the Badgers pay by evening up the score. Sarah Potomak slotted home her sixth goal of the season, assisted by her sister Amy, and the Gophers suddenly had new life.

Fewer than two minutes later the Badgers were scrambling in their own zone again and Grace Zumwinkle was left completely unattended in front of Campbell’s net and slammed home Minnesota’s second goal off a Taylor Heise wraparound style assist.

The Badgers recovered somewhat to end the second period and both teams get scoring chances but nothing came of it as both Campbell and Gophers goalie Sydney Scobee kept the score at 2-1.

The teams came out at the start of the third period with the sense of urgency you would expect in a one goal, rivalry game and after the Badgers furiously drove for the game-tying goal in the first five minutes a bad bounce took the wind out of their sails.

Zumwinkle rang a shot of the post and it ended up in the back of the net after hitting Campbell’s pads. It was her 12th goal of the season and second of the game. Just over a minute later the Gophers added goal number four thanks to Alex Woken.

The Badgers continued to drive play in the Minnesota zone but could not unlock Gophers goalie Sydney Scobee. Scobee made several outstanding saves in the final period and was able to keep the Badgers at arm’s length.

With just over four minutes left in the third period Presley Norby was able to get one back for the Badgers, but even after pulling their goalie for the final two minutes Wisconsin was unable to get any closer.

The teams ended up each shooting the puck 51 times, while the Badgers had 33 on goal and the Gophers only had 21. Minnesota won 32 faceoffs to Wisconsin’s 27 and the Badgers blocked 16 shots while the Gophers had 11. There were no penalties called all game.

Wisconsin’s defense looked consistently out of sorts when Minnesota put even a little pressure on them and outside of the top line of Roque, Watts and Shirley, Wisconsin’s offense wasn’t able to muster much of a threat.

Game two of the Border Battle series will be on Sunday afternoon at 2:07 p.m. CT inside of Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.

Three Stars

3rd Star: Minnesota goalie Sydney Scobee

2nd Star: Minnesota forward Sarah Potomak

1st Star: Minnesota forward Grace Zumwinkle