Tony Granato’s Wisconsin Badgers (6-5) moved to 2-1 all-time against teams ranked first in the NHCA during his tenure as head coach, following an enormous 3-1 win over the No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-1).
Many had discounted the chances that the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team could pull off the upset of what many considered not only the best team in the country, but also one that was on a historic winning streak.
However, due to high quality of play by Wisconsin goalie Robbie Beydoun, the Badgers were able to all-but-shutdown the offensive attack of the Gophers. Beydoun had 35 saves in the victory over the Gophers, who had won 12 games in a row before taking on Wisconsin last night.
“I think if I just trust my game, I can make the controlled reads and plays instead of over relying on my athleticism,” Beydoun said of his play during the Badgers win. “So there’s a balance. But I think just being myself, playing my game, playing my strengths, I think that’s when I’m playing my best.”
The game started off with strong defensive showings and was scoreless through the first period before the reigning player of the month Linus Weissbach kicked off scoring in the second.
Senior Tarek Baker then scored in the third period, bringing Wisconsin to a 2-0 lead that would prove to be enough as Minnesota could only muster up one goal the rest of the evening. Wisconsin would add one last tally on a goal by Owen Lindmark that would cement the Badgers 3-1 victory.
“Any time you can beat a team who’s in the top-ten like that is going to be a good feeling, especially it being Minnesota,” Senior Tarek Baker said of the team’s significant win. “This year is a weird season and we’re only playing Big Ten games, so it’s more so going into every game knowing that a series has got six points on the line. Coming out with a win on the first night of the series is a big thing.”
Whenever a lower-ranked team is squaring off against the best team in the country, the absolute best thing one can hope for is to split the series. The Badgers have now at least done that and have a chance at a sweep when the action resumes later this afternoon at 4 p.m. in LaBahn Arena. The Border Battle can be seen on Fox Sports Wisconsin where Minnesota will attempt to avenge their Saturday loss and kickstart another winning streak.