Gophers settle for split, fall 3-1 to Badgers

MADISON, Wis. — Lakeville, Minn., native Josh Ess broke a tie midway through the third period, as No. 16 Minnesota fell 3-1 to No. 20 Wisconsin on Saturday in Madison.

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Sophomore forward Brannon McManus got the Gophers on the board first, blasting a slapshot past Wisconsin goaltender Daniel Lebedeff on the power play at 11:15 of the first period.

The Badgers answered with a power-play goal of their own late in the first period, when sophomore forward Sean Dhooge redirected sophomore defenseman Wyatt Kaynuk’s wrist shot at 18:00.

Wisconsin freshman Jack Gorniak tacked on an empty-net goal with just over 30 seconds to play.

Senior goaltender Eric Schierhorn fell to 0-3 on the season after making 29 saves.

It was another tough night for the Gophers’ offense as well, which scored seven goals each in consecutive wins over Minnesota Duluth, the U.S. U-18 team and Canadian club Trinity Western, but has managed more than two goals just once in its last four.

The Gophers fell 3-1 to North Dakota during the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game in Las Vegas, Nevada, then 5-1 and 2-1 during a home-and-home series with Minnesota State last weekend, before winning Friday’s series opener 3-2.

Minnesota returns to Minneapolis next weekend for a two-game series with St. Lawrence, then returns to Big Ten play with a home series against Michigan State Nov. 23-24.