Gophers earn series split with 4-1 win at Wisconsin

Jack LaFontaine made a season-high 34 saves and four different Minnesota skaters found the net as the No. 5 Gopher men’s hockey program picked up a 4-1 win over Wisconsin on Saturday night at the Kohl Center.

Minnesota (6-4-0 overall, 3-1-0-0-1-0 Big Ten) jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first period with goals from Matthew Knies, Aaron Huglen and Jaxon Nelson. Nelson’s power-play goal toward the end of the opening stanza came on Minnesota’s only advantage of the night.

Wisconsin (4-6-0, 2-2-0-1-0-0) found the net for the first and only time on Saturday night with a power-play goal from Roman Ahcan 51 seconds into the second period, but Sammy Walker answered back for the Maroon & Gold 16 seconds later for the final goal of the game.

LaFontaine (6-4-0) stopped 34 of 35 on the night with the only blemish coming on Wisconsin’s advantage – Minnesota’s penalty kill went 1-for-2 on the night. The goaltender briefly left the game at the end of the first period after a collision but returned for the second period. With LaFontaine out of action briefly, Justen Close made his first appearance of the season with three saves on three shots. Cameron Rowe (2-4-0) surrendered four goals on 12 shots to take the loss for the Badgers before being relieved.

Wisconsin held a 38-18 advantage on shots in the series finale.