Chicago, IL (WQOW) -- Minnesota and Wisconsin first played an outdoor game in 1922. Sunday, the teams are back at it, taking part in the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field in Chicago. Unlike that game 91-years ago, the Badgers won this time, beating the Gophers 3-2.
Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves didn't mind giving up a home game at the Kohl Center to come down here and take part in the Hockey City Classic, an event that creates lifetime memories for everyone involved. But it certainly doesn't hurt Wisconsin's style of play to be on outdoor ice and to be on a rink that is 85 feet wide.
"I think that based on who we are and what are strengths are as a hockey team and hockey players, for the most part we need to keep it simple. Keep it smart. And that helps us be effective and gives us a chance to be successful," says head coach Mike Eaves.
The Badgers gave up three power play goals to the Gophers on Friday, but on Sunday Wisconsin was 2-2 on the penalty kill.
"I think that started with (Joe) Rumpel tonight and the ice conditions kind of de-skilled their power play a little bit," says senior defenseman John Ramage. "It definitely worked in our favor and we'll take it.
"The first period Rumpel kept us afloat and that's why he deserved the game puck like Coach Eaves gave him," says sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe.
Wisconsin is now 3-0 all-time in outdoor games, and the players on this year's team think this win can be a big boost for the Badgers down the stretch of the WCHA season.
"To beat the Gophers, they're one of the top teams in the nation, it really helps us in so many ways," says junior forward Jefferson Dahl. "We just want to keep building on it. We have another series next week, so it's a step in the right direction to keep moving forward."
"Our fate is in our hand here in the final stretch of the regular season," adds McCabe. "As long as we win we'll keep going up the standings. This is a big win and we're going to enjoy it right now, but we have to go back to work and we have to keep improving. You know, we have to play our best hockey at the end of the year.
The Badgers will be back at the Kohl Center next week to host Penn State. Those games will be played on Sunday and Monday.
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