With their team off to its best start in more than 80 years, some Gophers fans had likely started to dream of an unbeaten run through the 2020-21 campaign.
Wisconsin, apparently, is where those dreams go to die.
Facing their first serious adversity of the season, with a two-goal deficit on the road in the third period, the Gophers made a furious final push and got a Sampo Ranta goal.
But Badgers goalie Robbie Beydoun had an answer for nearly everything thrown his way, with 35 saves in a 3-1 Wisconsin win.
Ranta’s goal, his team-leading eighth of the season, was the only offense for the Gophers (10-1-0 overall, 8-1-0-0-0-0 Big Ten), who got 19 saves from goalie Jack LaFontaine.
They had won 12 consecutive games dating back to last season before the frustrating outing against their archrivals.
“I think this was a classic game tonight where we showed up and Wisconsin showed up first,” Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. “They had a lot more determination early in the game, and it took us a while to find it. We weren’t bad tonight. We were OK. But in a game like this we needed better than OK.”
Tarek Baker had a goal and an assist for the Badgers (6-5-0, 6-3-0-0-1-0) but their story was told in the crease, where Beydoun was lucky and good in getting his fifth win of the season.
The two-game weekend series concludes at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
GOPHERS WOMEN ROLL
Abbey Murphy scored twice in a four-goal first period and that was all the Gophers needed as they skated to a 4-1 win over St. Cloud State at Ridder Arena.
Taylor Heise and Catie Skaja also scored for the Gophers (7-1).