Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 11/11/11
MADISON, Wis -- Classic rivalries between the Badger State and North Star State will be rekindled throughout the weekend, and the battle for bragging rights on the ice began Friday night at the Kohl Center when the No.1-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers fell to the Wisconsin Badgers, 3-1. The Gophers (9-2-0 overall and 6-1-0 in the WCHA) and Badgers (5-5-1, 4-4-1) went back and forth with scoring chances to begin the game, but the Badgers squandered a great power-play opportunity halfway through the first period after Michael Mersch committed a tripping penalty against Travis Boys and evened things up at 4-on-4. Neither team was able to capitalize with the extra ice, however. Throughout the period, the Badgers' trap held the Gophers to one side of the ice and forced Minnesota to play a dump-and-chase style that never allowed their potent offense to get in sync. Despite a few attempts by Wisconsin toward the end of the period, the score remained tied 0-0, and shots even at 5-5, going into the first intermission.At 5:38 into the second period, the Badgers opened up the scoring. After creating a two-on-one chance, Tyler Barnes took advantage of the Gophers defensemen not playing the back door and fed a one-time pass to Mark Zengerle, who easily tapped it past Gophers goaltender Kent Patterson. Less than one minute later, the Badgers' Keegan Meuer made it 2-0 after shooting a deflection off Gophers defenseman Ben Marshall's stick and beating Patterson over his shoulder.Later in the second period, Wisconsin caught Minnesota making a poorly timed line change to increase the lead. Defenseman Justin Schultz sent a two-line pass to give Michael Mersch a breakaway. Mersch deked Patterson and slid the puck into the net through the five hole to make it 3-0.The Gophers had a great chance to climb back into the game near the end of the second period when Erik Haula and Jake Hansen found themselves with a two-on-one opportunity, but Hansen's hsot was swallowed up by Badgers goaltender Joel Rumpel.As the third period progressed, Wisconsin's trap stayed effective, and Rumpel answered every effort from the Gophers. Minnesota broke the shutout with just over a minute remaining in the game when Jake Hansen knocked in a rebound from Ben Marshall's shot. The Gophers were unable to get another goal with the sixth man on the ice.Contrary to most expectations, the Badgers outskated the Gophers and utilized their speed and physicality to slow down the powerful Minnesota offense. Wisconsin was also able to take advantage and score on the Gophers' mistakes throughout the game. In what was considered the state of Minnesota's best chance to come away with a victory in this weekend's border battle, it was the Badgers who pulled off the upset and earned a victory for the Cheeseheads. The two teams will meet again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
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