Gophers Tommy Novak-photo from gophersports.com

MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) –A furious rally in the final minute came down to a waved-off equalizer with five seconds to play as the Gophers men’s hockey team fell to Wisconsin Friday 4-3.

Down by two in the final minute of regulation, Tommy Novak cut the lead to one with 57 seconds left and then appeared to score again with five seconds to play only for the goal to be called off upon review due to an offside call on the Gophers.

Minnesota (18-16-0 overall, 13-6-0-0 Big Ten) opened the night with a power-play goal from Leon Bristedt at 9:18 of the first period, putting energy into a power-play unit that had struggled recently for Minnesota. Hudson Fasching and Michael Brodzinski assisted on the tally.

But the Badgers (8-17-8, 3-12-4-2) bounced back with a power-play goal from Jedd Soleway at 17:49 of the first and then a 4-on-4 tally from Luke Kunin minutes later at 19:41. Grant Besse added a power-play goal at 11:19 of the second period.

Down by two after two, Taylor Cammarata, Tyler Sheehy and Vinni Lettieri gave the Gophers some life in the third period with Lettieri’s sixth of the year at 10:49 but Wisconsin temporarily took the wind out of Minnesota’s sails with Besse’s empty-net goal at 18:44 of the third.  

Novak’s sixth of the year re-energized the Maroon & Gold heading into Saturday’s regular-season finale although Friday’s result favored the visitors.

Eric Schierhorn took the loss for Minnesota, making 19 saves, while the Gophers outshot Wisconsin 35 to 23 on the night.

Minnesota will look to rebound on Saturday as the team holds a one-point lead over Michigan in the Big Ten standings and can wrap up the program’s fifth-straight regular-season conference title with a victory.

Coverage of the game on KROC AM begins at 6:30 pm.

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