Three-goal burst lifts U past Badgers for series split

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 13, 2011 - 1:21 AM

Helped by captain Taylor Matson, the Gophers turned a 1-1 game into a rout in the third and gave coach Don Lucia his 300th win at Minnesota.


The Gophers' Seth Ambroz (17) skated towards Wisconsin goalie Joel Rumpell during the second period of Saturday night's game at the Kohl Center.

MADISON, WIS. - After going without a point for six games, Gophers captain Taylor Matson got an assist and the game-winning goal as the nation's No. 1-ranked team beat Wisconsin 4-1 Saturday.

Matson's third goal of the season, at 6 minutes, 14 seconds of the third period, broke a 1-1 tie at the Kohl Center before an announced crowd of 13,149. The senior center scored from 25 feet after a centering pass from linemate Nate Condon.

Nick Bjugstad and Condon provided the Gophers (10-2-0, 7-1-0 WCHA) with two insurance goals later, both unassisted. Bjugstad's goal was his team-leading ninth.

The victory gave the Gophers (10-2-0, 7-1-0) a series split and Don Lucia his 300th victory as coach at Minnesota in 13 seasons. The unranked Badgers (5-6-1, 4-5-1) won 3-1 on Friday.

"It is going to be a happy bus on the way home," Matson said shortly before boarding the team bus.

Matson said he tried to keep his lack of scoring recently in perspective. "You work hard every single game, and eventually it will come as long as you are getting chances," he said. "It was just a little bit of a slump there. I am glad I got a goal tonight to help the team out, and a lot of other guys contributed, too."

Condon set up Matson on his goal with a pass from the right boards to the middle. "I just put it on net and it found a hole," Matson said. "It was just a snap shot coming down with speed."

Matson also had the lone assist early in the first period on junior defenseman Seth Helgeson's goal -- his first in 47 games and the third of his career.

Tyler Barnes, one of six Minnesotans on the Badgers roster, got their goal with both teams one man short later in the first period.

The second period was scoreless, although Barnes had two great chances. He was stopped a few feet away on a Badgers power play in the middle of the period. And a few minutes later, he and Joseph LaBate were alone in front of the net. Barnes, instead of shooting, tried to pass to his left to his linemate, who couldn't handle the puck.

"I felt we were more in control [Saturday] from start to finish," said Lucia, whose record as Gophers coach is 300-161-53. "Even though after the first it was 1-1, we played well. They didn't have much."

The Gophers outshot Wisconsin 12-4 in the first period, 33-14 for the game.

"We played more as a group instead of individuals," Lucia said. "I was anxious to see how we would respond after losing last night."

Lucia said he and his staff considered making lineup changes but decided to leave everything the same.

"There are a couple lines that haven't done much five-on-five the last three weeks," Lucia said. "And [Matson's] line was one of them. And we addressed it today in our meeting, jumped on them a little bit."

Lucia said he told his players that, with the long TV timeouts, he could go with only three lines and two sets of defensemen if some players weren't playing hard.

"First time we had to do that in a while," Lucia said. "And like you would expect Taylor, who is our captain and cares, [his] line really came through tonight."

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