On this very solemn occassion of Hockey Day in Minnesota, let us all take a moment and thank our lucky Badgers for the gift of Grant Besse, without whom we might never score.
In all seriousness, I was at LaBahn Arena for the women's game for most of this one and from the sound of it, I didn't miss a ton. The Badgers have shown moments of life here since the holidays, and for that we should all be grateful. Not only would it be a painfully long season, but we'd have to be worried about the future.
Instead, the boys have shown they can show up for at least one of the games, so we only need to drink heavily one day a weekend to make this tolerable.
Mike Eaves agrees.
Wisconsin hockey's season so far in one screencap pic.twitter.com/YyTS1Rdq9I— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 17, 2015
This Minnesota team wasn't going to react kindly to the way Wisconsin came back yesterday. The teams don't get along on the best of days, so having lost the lead and then the shootout on Friday was going to leave some bruised egos on the Gopher side of the ice. For Wisconsin's part, being a bit of a laughingstock can't be any Badgers' idea of a good season, so we were rife for a chippy contest and we got exactly that.
Much like Friday, Minnesota came out quickly. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, they were able to hold that lead. Travis Boyd scored a power-play goal off a rebound to give the Gophers the lead 4:30 into the period. Sam Warning put them up 2-0 when he buried a loose puck that got kicked around in front of the crease.
Boyd's second of the night was controversial at best. It was reviewed and ultimately allowed. Joel Rumpel looks to deny Warning, leaving the puck sitting just in front of the net. As players crash, the puck ends up in the net as it's knocked off. There's probably a case for both a kicked puck and the net off, but it was allowed and it really doesn't matter, as Minnesota took a 3-0 lead into the first break.
Here's a vine of that second Boyd goal courtest of Jashvina Shah (@icehockeystick on Twitter).
Connor Reilly made it look easy on a beauty of a pass from Justin Kloos to make it 4-0 less than two minutes into the second period.
It got worse from there when Mike Reilly had a no-look feed to Vinni Lettieri. His pass fed Christian Isackson behind the net, and he wrapped it around and in.
All hope was not totally lost for the Badgers, as it looked like they might pull off another late surge. Minnesota Mr. Hockey 2013 certainly left his mark, scoring the Badgers lone goals of the night.
Adam Rockwood and Jack Dougherty are credited with assists on this first goal, but you can see the effort is 100 percent Besse's, as it took about three tries before that puck lights the lamp.
Besse scored again on a 5-on-3 power play that resulted after this scrum:
Wisconsin's Joseph LaBate and Minnesota's Sam Warning and Ben Marshall all received 10-minute game misconducts.
But wait, there was more fighting! Eddie Wittchow delivered a questionable blow to Leon Bridtedt that brought fighting all over the ice, including both goalies.
Wittchow received a five-minute major and a DQ from the game, while Mike Reilly got a five-minute major and 10-minute game misconduct.
It was, apparently, the third-largest crowd in Mariucci Arena history at 10,384.
Eaves likened his team to puppies in a box -- sometimes you want to scratch them behind the ears and sometimes the crap the floor. Saturday night, he said, they crapped the floor. Not exactly eloquent, but unfortunately not an innaccurate description, either.