Only once before had offensively challenged Wisconsin scored three goals in one period this season -- until Sunday.
Then they did it in a span of 3 minutes, 19 seconds in the second period. First goal at 13:03, second at 14:13, third at 16:22. And the Badgers had a 3-0 lead. Too much for the Gophers to overcome.
Remarkably fast. And the three goal-scorers were not really goal-scorers. Combined they had seven goals this season. Seven.
But their goals still counted and Wisconsin beat the Gophers 3-2 in the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Freshman defenseman Kevin Schulze, of White Bear Lake, one of six Minnesotans on the Wisconsin roster, got the first goal. It was his third of the season. He finished the game a plus-2. Nobody else in the game for either side was better than a plus-1.
Then John Ramage, a senior defenseman, got the second goal. It was his fifth of the seaosn. And finally forward Sean Little scored his second goal of the season.
The odds of those three scoring in the same game had to be astronomical.
Sophomore goalie Joel Rumpel of UW stopped 36 shots, including all 15 he saw in the opening period. On Friday, he had 40 saves in the Badgers' 3-2 loss at the Kohl Center.
Wisconsin only has four WCHA games left, so it was a big win for them. Now they are just one point behind the Gophers, tied for fourth with North Dakota with 28 points.
And the Badgers could very well decide who is the MacNaughton Cup champion. They play Penn State on Sunday and Monday in a nonconference series. Then finish the season with Nebraska Omaha and St. Cloud State, No. 2 and 1 in the conference standings right now with 31 and 30 points, respectively.
* Erik Haula of the Gophers had the most shots on goal in the game, with six. Zach Budish, who scored a goal, and defenseman Nate Schmidt had five apiece.
* The Gophers vaunted power play only had two chances, one in the first period, one in the second. it was zero-for-two. On Friday, Minnesota scored three power-play goal on four opportunities. Wisconsin was zero-for-three on the power play with four shots.
* The game was extra long, 3 hours and 5 minutes.
*Junior defenseman Jake Parenteau of the Gophers was a minus-2. Nobody else on either team was more than a minus-1.
5 WCHA TEAMS PAIRING UP WELL
If the NCAA tournament were starting today, five WCHA teams would be in the 16-team field.
All are in the top 11 in the PairWise ratings, a statistical comparison of teams which mimics how the NCAA seeds it teams and picks its teams for the 16-team postseason tournament.
In would be: No.2 Gophers, No. 6 North Dakota, tied for No. 7 Minnesota State Mankato, No. 9 St. Cloud State and No. 11 Denver.
Minnesota would be one of the No. 1 seeds at the four regionals.
GET A CLUE
Those knuckleheads ripping Don Lucia for agreeing to play outdoors have their head buried in the sand. It was not the Gophers giving up a home game, it was Wisconsin.
So the Gophers lost. What do you expect? They have swept ONE series in the WCHA all season. And that was against last-place Alaska-Anchorage. As Lucia said recently, it is amazing his team is in the conference race at all.
Two of the top 10 teams in the uscho.com poll last week were idle. One swept last weekend, that would be Minnesota State Mankato. The other seven stumbled and bumbled. They were 3-8-3. Yikes.
So there was a lot less movement in the national polls than one might expect.
In the USA Today poll: Top five stayed the same: Quinnipiac, whose 21-game unbeaten string ended (18-0-3), stayed No. 1. Followed by the Gophers, Miami, Boston College and New Hampshire.
Three other WCHA teams all moved up a spot: North Dakota to No. 6, Minnesota State to No. 9, Denver to No. 10. Idle St. Cloud State stayed at No. 8.
Other teams moving up were Notre Dame, one spot to No. 11, UMass-Lowell, three spots to No. 12.
Boston University stayed at No. 13.
Dropping in the poll were Western Michigan, one spot to No. 7; Yale, five spots to No. 14, and Niagara, one spot to No. 15.
The uscho was much the same for movement, or lack thereof. The top five stayed the same; they are identical to USA Today.
Biggest gainers: Each up two, No. 12 UMass-Lowell and No. 17 Merrimack.
Biggest loser: Minus three, No. 13 Yale.
Unranked Union, a Frozen Four team last season, moved into top 20 at No. 20.
College Hockey News handicapped the Hobey Baker race. Two WCHA players were in its top four: junior forward Ryan Walters of Nebraska Omaha was No. 1. Walters, of Rosemount, is tied for the national points lead witrh 19 goals and 26 assists for 43 points. He is also a plus-24.
Senior center Corban Knight of North Dakota is No. 4. CHN calls him a great all-around player.
Goalie Eric Hartzell of Quinnipiac is No. 5. He is from White Bear Lake. At Nos. 9 and 10 are the Gophers' top two center, Nick Bjugstad and Erik Haula.
There are no defenseman in CHN's top 10. Seems like junior Nate Schmidt should be in the mix. He has eight goals and 21 assists for 29 points, tied for third on the team.