MINNEAPOLIS — There wasn't much to separate the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team and Minnesota in the latest edition of the Border Battle.
The 14th-ranked Badgers were looking for a difference-maker in the third period of a tie game against with their archrival on Saturday, and they ended up getting a few of them and a much-needed victory.
A Jake Linhart shot ticked off Trent Frederic's shin pad and into the net with 9:20 remaining, giving the Badgers their first lead of the game and a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory over the seventh-ranked Golden Gophers at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
Frederic started that play with a pass at the blue line and got credit for the finish, his fifth in six career games against Minnesota.
After scoring only one goal in nine games entering the weekend, Frederic had one in each game against the Gophers, even though Saturday's strike was barely a glancing blow off his leg.
"You get shots and shots and you think something should go in, and then you have one go off your shin pad and go through the goalie's five hole — it's a weird game we play," Frederic said.
Jack Berry, given his fourth start of the season after looking strong in relief in Friday's 5-4 loss, made the decision pay off for the Badgers.
He stopped 20 shots in the third period, a career-high 40 for the game and denied a first-period penalty shot by Jack Ramsey to add some more intrigue to the Badgers' goaltending situation.
Kyle Hayton, a graduate transfer from St. Lawrence, was expected to boost UW at the position but has struggled to an .892 save percentage.
"It felt great," said Berry, who improved to 3-1 in his four starts. "To beat Minnesota at Minnesota, there's nothing better than that."
Berry got some help on a Gophers power play in the final minute when defenseman Peter Tischke blocked two shots in the crease, the first with his hand on Steve Johnson and the second with his back on Tyler Sheehy at the side of the net.
Tischke's thought process on the play? "Just keep the puck out," he said. "Block every shot that we can."
"He's a warrior," Badgers coach Tony Granato said of Tischke, a junior. "He's what hockey players are supposed to be. He keeps getting confidence. His determination to do everything he can to keep the puck out of his net, you saw it again here tonight."
Those efforts helped the Badgers (10-7-2, 4-3-1 Big Ten Conference) to their third straight series split at Minnesota (10-7-1, 4-5-1-1).
"We needed some blocked shots. We needed some big saves," Granato said. "We needed to make plays at the other end."
UW rallied from a one-goal deficit in each of the first two periods.
First-round NHL draft pick Casey Mittelstadt put the Gophers ahead on a first-period power play after three UW players got caught in the corner.
But Matthew Freytag had an answer for the Badgers less than 10 minutes later after Frederic stole the puck from Ryan Zuhlsdorf in the left corner.
With UW on the power play late in the first, Minnesota's Ramsey broke through the middle for a breakaway but was slashed from behind by Freytag.
The referees awarded Ramsey a penalty shot, but Berry snared the wrist shot with his glove.
Another open shot gave Minnesota the lead again in the second period. This time, it was defenseman Jack Sadek from the right point after UW players collapsed to the left side.
Berry denied Mittelstadt, who was the eighth overall pick by Buffalo in last summer's NHL draft, on a breakaway five minutes later by kicking out his right pad to keep it at 2-1.
"He's calm, confident," Tischke said. "You never get nervous with him back there. He's always in control. He's great to have back there. It's nice seeing him get his confidence."
UW also did better in preventing good Minnesota chances on redirections or tip-ins around the net after the Gophers beat the Badgers in that area Friday.
"We focused a lot on that today," Tischke said. "I think the D and the forwards did a great job of taking bodies, getting sticks away from the net and then letting Jack see as many pucks as he could."
The Badgers tied it again in transition later in the second period, with Seamus Malone pulling the puck back to the middle and snapping a shot past Eric Schierhorn (29 saves).
It set up a final 20 minutes to decide things, with the teams even in goals and in shots (22-22) through two periods.
UW did one better than the Gophers, just like Minnesota did to the Badgers on Friday.
"I think it's what it should have been — a split," Granato said. "Last night's game, we could have walked out of here with a win. Tonight, they might have been able to walk out of here with a win. But it's two great teams that battled like crazy."
Wisconsin 1 1 1 — 3
Minnesota 1 1 0 — 2
First period: M — Mittelstadt 5 (Johnson, Pitlick), 3:01 (pp). W — Freytag 5 (Frederic), 12:25. Penalties: Davison, W, 1:25; Novak, M, 5:11; Lindgren, M, 6:54; Baker, W, 12:58; Bristedt, M, 18:05; Freytag, W, 18:48.
Second period: M — Sadek 1 (Gates, Johnson), 2:26. W — Malone 7 (Johnson, Hughes), 8:46. Penalties: Lindgren, M, 5:12; Reedy, M, 10:38; Tischke, W, 16:49; Mittelstadt, M, 16:49.
Third period: W — Frederic 8 (Linhart, Freytag), 10:40. Penalty: J. Dhooghe, W, 17:29.
Saves: W (Berry 9-11-20) 40; M (Schierhorn 10-10-9) 29. Power plays: W 0-for-5; M 1-for-3. Att. — 9,245.