MINNEAPOLIS — Craig Smith scored his second goal of the game with under five minutes to play, lifting No. 3 Wisconsin to a 3-2 victory Friday over rival Minnesota at the Target Center.
“If its close this year, its kinda gone against us,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said.
It was an strange game in a unusual venue. The Target Center had not hosted a college hockey in a decade. Three potential Minnesota goals were voided by the referees, and numerous ice repairs slowed the pace of the game.
“If I did not know better I would say there was a full moon out tonight — three disallowed goals, timeouts to fix the ice,” Badgers coach Mike Eaves said.
Although the calls all went the Badgers’ way, they appeared correct.
At 15:38 of the third period, Smith hit the upper right corner with a wrist shot beating Alex Kangas to put the Badgers in the lead for good. It was his second goal of the game.
“The last goal was going to win it and the young Mr. Smith made a terrific shot,” Eaves said.
The Gophers had tied the game early in the third on a goal by Kevin Wehrs on a low shot from the top of the circle.
Midway through the third, Minnesota had its second goal called off of the game, when Zach Budish put the puck in the net a second after it went of its moorings. It was immediately called off on the ice.
The first no-goal came when Minnesota appear to tie the game on a 5-on-3 power play early in the second on a tip by Mike Hoeffel. The goal was overturned because Hoeffel was clearly in the crease about 6 inches in front of Gudmandson. There was no clear contact but Hoeffel was in the crease and he did screen Gudmandson, impeding his ability to make a play on the puck.
Fueled by three minor penalties, the Gophers held Wisconsin to just two shots in the second period.
“We gave up low 20′s in shots. I thought our guys played terrific tonight,” Lucia said.
Ryan Flynn started the scoring on an unassisted, shorthanded goal at 4:16 of the first. Flynn picked Wisconsin defender Justin Schultz’s pocket at the Minnesota blue line and went in alone on Gudmandson. Flynn took a shot from the right circle.
Wisconsin tied it up quickly on a power-play goal at 6:43. Smith one-timed a shot on a pass from Jordy Murray from 15 feet out. Smith fed a pass between two defenders on a goal scored off transition.
Wisconsin made it 2-1 at 17:36 on a back-door tap in by Schultz. The Badgers won the faceoff after the power play was called. The Badgers rotated the puck to the left corner, where Aaron Bendickson hit Schultz cheating in on the back-door play for the tap in.
The initial reviewed no-goal for the Gophers came with a minute left in the first. Jacob Cepis’ shot hit the crossbar and fell behind Gudmandson but never crossed the line.
The same two teams face off at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mariucci Arena.