Badgers stop Gophers in outdoor game

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 18, 2013 - 7:20 AM

Despite a one-goal loss Sunday, the U took home fond memories of a grand weekend in Chicago.

view larger photos

  

CHICAGO - During their two days in Chicago, the Gophers created an album of memories they will carry long after their college hockey careers. They enjoyed a team meal at a fine Italian restaurant, where they got to meet hockey legend Bobby Hull. They were treated royally by organizers of the Hockey City Classic and made program history with the first outdoor game in its modern era, playing in storied Soldier Field.

Everything felt perfect, they said -- except for the outcome. The No. 2 Gophers were unable to stick to a game plan that forced them out of their usual high-skill style, falling 3-2 to Wisconsin to split their WCHA series against the 18th-ranked Badgers. On the rough ice of an outdoor rink, Wisconsin (13-10-7, 10-7-7 WCHA) prevailed by keeping things simple.

That played into the Badgers' nature, allowing them to score three goals in quick succession in the second period. Goalie Joel Rumpel was given the game puck by his teammates for holding the Gophers (20-6-4, 12-6-4) at bay as they dominated the first period. The Badgers then took over by putting the puck on net, scoring three times in 3 minutes, 19 seconds.

Freshman defenseman Kevin Schulze of White Bear Lake scored from the left point, sending the puck bouncing past Gophers goalie Adam Wilcox at 13:03 of the second. Fellow blue-liner John Ramage banged a shot from the right point off the shin pad of Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly at 14:13, and Sean Little got loose in front of the net to slide in a rebound at 16:22.

The Gophers outshot Wisconsin 38-19 and mounted a rally with goals by Seth Ambroz and Zach Budish in the third. But straying from the only viable strategy sent them home feeling a little empty after a weekend they called a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"It was a great outing for us," said Budish, who scored at 18:18 of the third with Wilcox pulled for a sixth skater. "But it was disappointing to lose. We got away from our game in the second period. Give Wisconsin credit. They went to the net and made plays."

No. 12 Notre Dame beat third-ranked Miami (Ohio) 2-1 in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader. Gophers coach Don Lucia saw his son Mario score the first goal for the Irish, who also got assists from Edina natives Anders Lee and Steven Fogarty. Attendance for the two games was announced at 52,051.

Most of the fans gathered on the east side of the stadium, warmed by a bright sun that glinted off Notre Dame's gold helmets. While the Irish and Miami had to contend with glare and shadows cast over portions of the rink, the entire ice surface fell under shade and the stadium lights were illuminated before the Gophers and Badgers started.

Lucia watched the first game from rinkside, getting a close-up look at the choppy ice. By the time he got behind the Gophers' bench in his throwback varsity jacket and newsboy cap, the temperature had cooled to 28 degrees, and the shade and the Chicago breeze made it feel colder.

The ice, he said, held up better for the Gophers and Badgers. Still, he and Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves both cautioned their players that it was unsuited for tape-to-tape passes and slick playmaking. That aided the Badgers, whose roster is built for a simple, disciplined game.

The Gophers outshot Wisconsin 15-6 in the opening period, testing Rumpel with eight close-range shots. They also failed to score on two power plays in the first 24 minutes, as Ramage speculated the ice "de-skilled" the nation's most effective power play.

"We didn't seem to be on our toes in the first period," said Eaves, whose Badgers are undefeated in three outdoor games since 2006.

"We seemed to be on our heels. [Rumpel's] performance in the first period allowed us to get our feet underneath us."

With Eaves urging them to put the puck on net in any way they could, Schulze and Ramage both flung long shots that benefited from odd bounces. Little secured position in front of the net to knock in the rebound of Jake McCabe's shot from the point, and Rumpel -- wearing a toque with a pompon atop his helmet -- kept the Gophers frustrated.

Ambroz poked in a rebound at 2:36 of the third to get the Gophers going, but Lucia said the outdoor ice made it challenging to come from behind.

"I thought we played a very good first period, then we got away from our game," he said.

"We started to try to make plays that weren't there under the conditions. We were going to have to get muck-and-grind goals, and we didn't get enough of them."

  • HOCKEY CITY CLASSIC WISCONSIN 3, GOPHERS 2

    Up next: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday vs. Minnesota Duluth • Mariucci Arena • TV: FSN Plus, BTN

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 86 FINAL
Indiana 93
Washington 81 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Golden State 113 FINAL
Toronto 89
New York 121 FINAL
Detroit 115
Orlando 88 FINAL
Atlanta 95
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Boston 106
LA Clippers 97 FINAL
Memphis 79
Brooklyn 98 FINAL
Houston 102
Miami 102 FINAL
New Orleans 104
Minnesota 89 FINAL
Chicago 96
Utah 104 FINAL
Denver 82
San Antonio 107 FINAL
Sacramento 96
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
Oklahoma City 112 FINAL
Portland 115
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 2
Calgary 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Washington 0 FINAL
Carolina 3
Chicago 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Colorado 5 FINAL(SO)
Dallas 4
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 58 FINAL
Akron 70
Dartmouth 84 FINAL
Columbia 71
Valparaiso 56 FINAL
Cleveland State 53
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
NJIT 78
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 66 FINAL
Arizona 51
Southern Ill 72 FINAL
Bradley 66
Drake 59 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Indiana State 71 FINAL
Evansville 53
Illinois State 53 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 67
Northern Iowa 70 FINAL
Missouri State 72
Utah 42 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 46
Providence 62 FINAL
Villanova 71
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close