Tonight’s Camp Randall Hockey Classic between the #19 Michigan Wolverines and the #3 Wisconsin Badgers lived up to the hype that surrounds outdoor games, and these two teams put on a show for the nation to watch. Bryan Hogan would start in the net for Michigan (thirtieth straight start) while Scott Gudmandson would suit up for the Badgers.
Early on in the first period, the Badgers would show their way, taking four shots in the first 2:30. Wisconsin’s Craig Smith and Jordy Murray would team up and Murray would put the Badgers on the board first at the top of the crease at 3:04 on even strength. The goal was Murray’s ninth and assists went to Blake Geoffrion and Craig Smith. Scott Gudmandson was also tested early by the Michigan attackers, making a lovely save at 4:13. Any keeper would be proud of Gudmandson. Rob Andringa of Big Ten Network made an observation on the Wolverines during the period that I agreed with. Michigan was trying to tie the game by making the pretty play. Remind you of a certain team we all know? Something also unique to note is that we went the first ten minutes without a call to hockey jail, also known as any type of penalty. The first penalty of the game went to Wisconsin’s Michael Davies for a two-minute cross check at 14:32, and the Badgers were lucky it wasn’t worse. The Wolverines came up empty on the power play that resulted, and also couldn’t pull a single trigger on a shot. Scooter Vaughan would take his Wolverine teammates to the net in a classic crash situation and he would jam the puck home for his second goal of the season at 18:57 to tie the game at one apiece and shift momentum. The goal was scored on even strength once again. Lindsay Sparks and Ben Winnett got the assists on the play from close in. Shots in the first favored Wisconsin 13-6, and each goalkeeper played real well in the first. I would not give either goal to the goalkeeper if I had to play the blame game. Michigan had the lone advantage in the first, and again came up empty.
The second period had that feeling that most games start with, where both teams tried to figure each other out. Sean Dolan proved to take a step beyond the line of physicality at 2:27 when he got sent to jail for head hunting. That’d be Michigan’s second power play of the game, and the Wolverines had that “pretty play” look about them. Thus, Michigan wasn’t able to convert on their advantage chance, and that should teach you to get the puck in deep at all times and all costs. Michigan’s Carl Hagelin would keep jamming at the puck on an offensive chance, but Gudmandson was up to the task in the middle stages of the period. Each team would play a style where they thought the second goal would be the last one, and thus, each defensive unit stepped up. Ben Winnett would send Michigan to the penalty box for interference at 15:28 for Wisconsin’s second man-advantage on the evening. Unfortunately, the Badgers were not able to cash in, and the power play teams for both schools would struggle in the first forty minutes, each going 0-fer. Shots in the second period had Michigan outshooting Wisconsin 10-5 for two period totals of 18-16 to the Badgers. Power plays in the second had each team going 0-1, and Michigan going 0-2 overall through two periods.
The crowd of 55,031 would start the third period knowing they were the second largest crowd to ever witness a college hockey game. Each team would have that slow start that we’re all accustomed to, and the ice would force pucks to take funny bounces early on. The first 3:00 of the third went without a penalty call, and the game was relatively clean overall. The third period would also bring back a Camp Randall tradition at 5:03 into the period with the ever popular “Jump Around.” If you’re guessing, I did not jump around. The middle part of the period had some chess moves from both coaches as strategic line changes were made, but the game kept that end to end flow that we saw in the first two periods. The defenses would become stingier as we got under ten minutes, and it was some of the best defensive hockey I saw all evening. Michigan gained control of the game at 11:03 when Kevin Lynch put a shot on net from the offensive point, and scored his third goal of the season, and Carl Hagelin assisted him on the play. Scott Gudmandson simply misread the flight of the puck, allowing Lynch to beat him stick side top shelf. Chris Summers would get a tripping call at 16:18 and put the Badgers on the man-advantage which was the most critical two minutes of the night. Brendan Smith would put the Badgers on terms very quickly with his second goal of the season at 14:28. Smith was assisted by Michael Davies (his seventh) and Derek Stepan (his fourth). Chris Summers would put Michigan in an awkward situation at 18:04 with a “cheaper” slash, and give the Badgers their third power play of the game (1-2 on the other two chances). Shots in the third went to Wisconsin 9-8 giving the Badgers a 27-24 edge on the night in the shots column. Brendan Smith would prove to be clutch in the final two minutes, with the one-time goal on the man-advantage, giving Wisconsin 2-3 on the advantage until the 19:03 mark. Michigan would commit a desperate goaltender interference infraction when David Wohlberg went to the bin. The final power play tally had Wisconsin go 2-4 on the night (2-3 in the third period), and Michigan go without a power play in the third for 0-2 overall.
Your beloved Golden Gophers return to action next weekend when they take a trip out to Rocky Mountain high and face the Denver Pioneers and Friday’s game is scheduled for an 8:37pm puck drop, while Saturday’s game is scheduled for an 8:07pm start. Both games are live on FS North with Frank Mazzocco and Doug Woog taking you along for the ride.
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Until next time, I’ll see you at the rink!