The Gophers drew a penalty midway through the first period Friday. In a game they would lose 4-1 to Wisconsin.
The Badgers are plain awful on the penalty kill, about 75 percent. It was scoreless when Matt Paape was called for hooking. Here was a chance for the Gophers to take an early lead.
But the power play did virtually nothing. Two 50-foot shots by defensemen Nate Schmidt and Ben Marshall were blocked. Nobody else took a shot and that was the only man-advantage the Gophers would have.
Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves obviously told his troops: No penalties. The Badgers were called for three more penalties but, in all three instances, a Gophers player went in the box at the same time.
For at least 20-30 seconds of the power play, it was actually 5-on-3 1/2 players because one Badger had lost his stick.
The Gophers outshot UW 27-20, but that was a deceiving statistic. The home team only had seven shots from in "the house," the area beneath the circles up to the net.
Their best chance, with the score 3-0 Badgers in the second period, didn't even turn into a shot on goal. Freshman Seth Ambroz had the puck on the right side, in-tight, with the goalie out a little bit. So basically he had an open net, tap-in if he played his angle right.
But he hit the puck square and set it straight across the crease. Oh my. He will have nightmares about the play.
The bottom line is, the Gophers had to play much more aggressive. They had to go hard to the net to force the Badgers to take penalties. They didn't.
Freshman Joel Rumpel had a shutout until Nico Sacchetti redirected a shot by defenseman Jake Parenteau with 62 seconds to play. Rumpel made 26 saves, but few were difficult.
* The three stars of the game were all Badgers:
No. 1 star Mark Zengerle, one goal, three assists ... just one shot on goal, plus-2
No. 2 star Ryan Little, one goal, one assist ... he scored Badgers' second goal, the game-winner as it turned out
No. 3 star Joel Rumpel, 26 saves ... he had shutout until nearly the last minute
DEADLY POWER PLAY
The Badgers had three power plays, two in the second period and one in the third. They only got three shots on them but scored twice.
* The Badgers blocked 19 shots -- the Gophers 14. Defenseman Jake McCabe had five of the those blocks for UW.
* Despite their loss, the Gophers remained No. 7 in the all-important PairWise ratings
* Two of the best-of-three, first-round WCHA pairings are set:
Alaska Anchorage (12) at Gophers (1)
Minnesota State Mankato (11) at Minnesota Duluth (2)
??? at Denver (3)
??? at North Dakota (4)