Madison, Wis. – Gophers defenseman Michael Brodzinski was in coach Don Lucia’s doghouse after the second period Saturday for taking a penalty after a whistle.
By the end of a 9-2 victory over Wisconsin, that faux pas had been largely forgiven.
Brodzinski scored three goals in the third period for his first collegiate hat trick as the Gophers posted their biggest win over their Border Battle foe in nearly 15 years.
“It still really hasn’t sunk in,” Brodzinski said. “It feels like it’s a dream right now, but it’s nice.”
Sixteen of 19 Gophers players recorded at least a point in Minnesota’s largest offensive showing since a 9-0 victory over Sacred Heart on Oct. 7, 2011.
The onslaught started 12 seconds into the game when Hudson Fasching scored, igniting the Gophers to their first seven-goal victory over Wisconsin since 2003 and first by that margin in Madison since 1991.
Only four times in the 275-game series between the rivals have the Gophers beaten the Badgers by more than seven, most recently in 1935.
“You’ve just got to enjoy a game like this,” Lucia said, “because they don’t happen very often.”
The scales of the Border Battle tipped a little more toward Minnesota. The Gophers are unbeaten in their past six games against the Badgers (4-0-2), their longest streak without a loss in the series since an eight-game run from January 2002 to November 2003.
Brodzinski recorded the first hat trick by a Gophers defenseman since Mike Vannelli in 2007, redeeming himself for a roughing-after-the-whistle penalty that ended a power play in the final seconds of the second period.
Seconds after leaving the penalty box early in the third, he beat Badgers goaltender Matt Jurusik with a wrist shot to put the Gophers ahead 6-2.
“I don’t really need to take that penalty there, but coming out of the box and getting that quick goal was pretty big for us,” Brod- zinski said.
He scored the Gophers’ final two goals, giving him his first multi-goal game in an 85-game collegiate career and, he said, his first hat trick since peewees.
The Gophers (13-10, 8-2 Big Ten) scored four goals in the first period, starting with Fasching’s 11th goal in 12 games, to extend their winning streak to five games. They’re 9-3 since the start of December.
The Badgers (4-12-6, 1-7-2-1) turned things around in the second period, getting goals from Cameron Hughes and Plymouth native Grant Besse around Leon Bristedt’s 12th goal of the season for the Gophers.
But the Gophers scored four more times in the third. Two came on a power play after the Badgers’ Eddie Wittchow was ejected for contact to the head, the second major penalty of the night resulting from a hit to Gophers center Tommy Novak. Earlier, Wisconsin’s Aidan Cavallini was ejected for his hit on Novak.