The aggressive end to the Border Battle two weeks ago is still fresh on the players' minds.
Gophers freshman forward Leon Bristedt took a blow to the head from Wisconsin's Eddie Wittchow and Mike Reilly quickly responded. Within seconds every player on the ice, plus one from the Gophers' bench, were physically engaged with one another.
Some of the scuffles were friendly, geared at stopping the fight. Others included punches and went on as long as possible.
The game got of hand just past the midway point of the third period when two Gophers and one Badger were tagged with 10-minute misconduct penalties. In total, each team had 14 penalties worth 55 minutes.
The Gophers won the game 5-2 and will get a chance to continue the beating on Friday night in a conference rematch at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.
"End of the game, I was proud of the way our guys stuck up for each other and handled that situation," Gophers senior forward Travis Boyd said two weeks ago. "It's a rivalry game. I think that's expected. ... It's the Border Battle. That just kind of happens.
"You always look forward to playing Wisconsin, but yeah, the way the game ended, we'll have a little bit more excitement playing them."
The two teams didn't have to wait long with the Big Ten schedule pinning them together after just one weekend to cool off. Expect the Badgers also to be eager to get the upper hand in a physical rematch on Friday and Saturday.
"Both teams are coming off not a great start to the year, so both teams will be good and whenever we play in Madison it's a good weekend," Gophers junior defenseman Brady Skjei said this week. "A lot of emotion goes into the game. So expect both teams to try and get it back on track here this weekend."
• Wondering what's broken within the Gophers men's hockey program? Friday's feature addresses that question and the rumors swirling around the program during this extended skid. Also watch Gophers coach Don Lucia preview the weekend series and hear from senior defenseman Ben Marshall and junior defenseman Brady Skjei.
• Series Preview: Gophers vs. Wisconsin
8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday Kohl Center, Madison, Wis.
TV/radio/live stream: BTN both nights; 1500-AM on Friday and 107.1-FM on Saturday; BTN2Go both nights.
Gophers at a glance: They were looking forward to this weekend minutes after finishing off the Badgers at Mariucci Arena two weeks ago. There is unfinished business following the fight that broke out in the series finale, but since then both programs have bigger worries. The Gophers (11-9-2, 2-2-2 Big Ten) fell out of the USCHO national rankings for the first time since 2011 on Monday, and the team is desperate for a victory. They’ve won just four games since mid-November and were swept by in-state rivals (Minnesota State Mankato and Minnesota Duluth) in the North Star College Cup last weekend in St. Paul.
TV note: Minnesota will be the featured Big Ten program in BTN’s Friday night doubleheader. The No. 1-ranked Gophers wrestling team will meet No. 2 Iowa on BTN at 6 p.m., and the hockey game will follow at 8 p.m.
For more on Wisconsin and the Border Battle rematch, read the full series preview.
• Gophers' Friday lines
Forwards (left wing, center, right wing)
Leon Bristedt, Kyle Rau, Hudson Fasching
Sam Warning, Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata
Connor Reilly, Travis Boyd, Seth Ambroz
Ryan Reilly, Vinni Lettieri, Christian Isackson,
Defensemen (left, right)
Brady Skjei, Ryan Collins
Mike Reilly, Jake Bischoff
Ben Marshall, Michael Brodzinski
Adam Wilcox, Nick Lehr
• Minnesotans in Wisconsin's lineup
Joseph Labate, Sr. forward, Eagan
Grant Besse, Soph. forward, Plymouth
Eddie Wittchow, Jr. defenseman, Burnsville
Jack Dougherty, Fr. defenseman, Cottage Grove
Kevin Schulze, Jr. defenseman, White Bear Lake