MADISON, WIS. – The Gophers scored three goals in a span of 1 minute, 14 seconds in the second period to take a lead they never relinquished in a 3-2 victory over Wisconsin on Friday night before an announced crowd of 8,965 at the Kohl Center. It was the Big Ten Conference men's hockey opener for both teams.
Minnesota (2-3-1) had lost its past three games. The team's last victory was at home over Minnesota Duluth 7-4 on Oct. 7.
With the Gophers trailing 2-0, freshman defenseman Ben Brinkman started the Gophers comeback with his first collegiate goal at 9:20 of the second period. Rem Pitlick scored his third goal of the season on a power play 21 seconds later to tie the score.
Ryan Norman, a senior forward from Maplewood, put the Gophers ahead to stay at 3-2 at 10:34. It was the first goal of the season for the fourth-line left wing and came on his only shot on goal. He broke a 27-game goal-scoring drought.
"That was a great couple of shifts in a row," Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. "We put pressure on them down low and we get a goal and a power play out of it and then another one down by the goal. That is what we are trying to establish.
"It was in there tonight. Not as consistent as we want, but it was in there."
Wisconsin (4-5) led 1-0 after one period on Brock Caufield's second goal of the season. Roman Ahcan made a nice pass on a 2-on-1 to set up Caufield.
The Badgers went up 2-0 four minutes into the second period on Wyatt Kalynuk's goal.
Mat Robson made 30 saves for the Gophers, including 15 in the third period. He improved to 2-2-1. Daniel Lebedeff stopped 24 shots for Wisconsin.
The Gophers were 1-for-3 on the power play, the Badgers 0-for-4.
Minnesota has won six of the past seven games it has played in Madison.