No. 4 Gophers claim Big Ten lead, fight off Badgers

The Gophers are back on top of the Big Ten after defeating Wisconsin, 3-2. (Courtesy Minnesota Gophers via Twitter)

With the game tied 2-2 and the lead in the Big Ten on the line, the No. 4 Minnesota Gophers looked to their captain for an answer.

He responded.

Captain Justin Kloos scored his 17th goal of the season to put the Gophers up 3-2 with 5:06 to play in the third period, courtesy of assists by Rem Pitlick and Tyler Sheehy. Minnesota went on to win the game 3-2 and was able to hold off a late Badgers rally.

With 37 seconds remaining,  Gophers forward Vinni Lettieri saved a puck that was inches from crossing the goal line to preserve the win.

The Gophers jumped out to a quick start and led 2-0 after the first period. They also had the advantage in first-period shots, 15-5.

Rem Pitlick broke open the game with his 11th goal of the season.

Ryan Norman had an incredible display of hand-eye coordination with just 4.7 seconds remaining in the first period, as he batted a puck out of midair to put the Gophers up, 2-0.

Wisconsin rallied back in the second period. Luke Kunin and Jake Linhart both found the back of the net to tie the game, but the Gophers prevailed in the third period.

Kloos tallied two points in the winning effort, tying him for 31st place in Gophers history for points scored.

Minnesota improves to 21-9-2 overall and 12-4-0-0 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin (18-11-1, 11-5-0-0 Big Ten) falls to second place in the conference.