MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (PRESS RELEASE) - After leading for over 35 minutes, eighth-ranked Wisconsin gave up two third period goals to drop a 3-2 decision against No. 2 Minnesota. With the loss, the Badgers (18-13-3, 15-12-1 WCHA) cement a fourth place WCHA finish and a series split. The Badgers will now play host to Ohio State in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
It was the Gophers' ability to capitalize with the man-advantage that made the difference, finding the back of the net twice while on the power play, including the equalizer at 14:52 in the third period.
After a momentum swing, the Gophers were on the attack, playing for a share of the regular-season league title. Chelsey Jones capitalized on a scramble and lit the lamp at the 18:20 mark to give the Gophers their first lead of the night and the eventual victory.
Wisconsin took the early advantage with a goal in the first two minutes of play. At the 1:24 mark, junior Mallory Deluce (London, Ontario) sent the puck to senior captain Jasmine Giles (Ottawa, Ontario) in the slot. Giles flipped it over Minnesota's Alyssa Grogan and into the back of the net. Giles recorded her third goal and Deluce notched her third assist of the series to give the Badgers the 1-0 lead.
The Gophers tied it up with 7:45 left in the first frame when Minnesota's Anne Schleper capitalized on the power play. Emily West and Brittany Francis contributed to the goal.
Wisconsin quickly responded at the 16:06 mark to once again take control of the lead. Giles got a smooth pass from sophomore Brooke Ammerman (River Vale, N.J.) on the far boards. Giles skated the puck up the ice and found Deluce who fired it backdoor for the 2-1 advantage.
With 5:08 left in the contest, the Gophers converted to knot the score at 2-2. Minnesota's Kelly Seeler notched the power-play goal with a slap shot that trickled in off of Alannah McCready's (Blaine, Minn.) glove.
After Minnesota took the lead, UW pulled McCready in the final minute for the extra attacker but couldn't salvage a comeback as the Gophers outshot the Badgers 15-4 in the third period.
Giles finished with a goal and an assist for the Badgers. The captain has collected five goals and three assists in the past three games. Deluce also added a goal and an assist for the cardinal and white.
The Gophers outshot the Badgers in 34-23. Grogan finished with 21 saves for Minnesota and McCready stopped 31 of Minnesota's attempts for Wisconsin.
Wisconsin went 0-for-1 on the power play and the Gophers capitalized on 2-of-5 opportunities with the man advantage.
The game marked the first time the Badgers lost to the Gophers since Minnesota defeated Wisconsin 4-2 on Feb. 7, 2009.
After Minnesota's (23-7-5, 19-6-4 WCHA) 3-2 victory over the Badgers, the Gophers secured a first place tie in the WCHA with Minnesota Duluth.
The Badgers host the Buckeyes at the Eagle's Nest Arena in Verona, Wis. from Feb. 26-28. Games are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday if necessary. The winner of the best-of-three series advances to the WCHA Final Faceoff hosted by Minnesota at Ridder Arena.