See more of the story

The shots on goal total read Gophers 40, Michigan 19, suggesting a productive offensive showing for the home team at 3M Arena at Mariucci on Saturday night.

The scoreboard, however, offered a counterargument, with the No. 3-ranked Wolverines defeating the No. 11 Gophers 4-1 and remaining in a first-place tie with Ohio State atop the Big Ten hockey standings.

The Gophers, who won a 2-1 overtime thriller in Friday's series opener, saw their chance at a sweep diminish after Michigan's Brendan Brisson and Matty Beniers scored twice in a span of 1 minute, 2 seconds late in the first period. Michael Pastujov and Nick Blankenburg also scored, and Wolverines goalie Erik Portillo made the lead hold up by stopping 39 shots.

"We made three mistakes tonight, and they scored on 'em,'' Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. "… We did a lot of good things tonight, and you know I don't come in [to the postgame news conference] many times after a loss and say that.''

Bryce Brodzinski scored for the Gophers, and goalie Justen Close made 15 saves in front of an announced crowd of 8,046.

Minnesota (14-10, 9-5 Big Ten) remained in third place in the Big Ten with 27 points, the series split costing them a chance to close the conference gap on the talented Wolverines (19-7-1, 10-6 Big Ten for 33 points). In the PairWise Ratings, the Gophers slipped from No. 10 to No. 11.

The Gophers took a 1-0 lead 2:48 into the first when Blake McLaughlin took a stretch pass from defenseman Mike Koster and passed to trailing winger Brodzinski, who rifled a shot over Portillo.

Outplayed for most of the period, Michigan flipped the script with two quick goals on rushes into the Gophers zone to take a 2-1 lead. First, Brisson converted a cross-ice pass from Ethan Edwards to tie the score 1-1 at 14:39 with his 16th goal of the season. Then just over a minute later, three of the top five overall picks in the 2021 NHL draft combined to give the Wolverines the lead, with No. 2 pick Beniers scoring his 15th goal of the season and defenseman Owen Power, the No. 1 pick, and center Kent Johnson, the No. 5 pick, adding assists.

"We have game-changers, and when they get opportunities, they're going to make you pay for it,'' Michigan coach Mel Pearson said.

The Gophers outshot the Wolverines 15-7 in the first period, but Michigan had four of the final five shots, including the two goals.

"We just didn't capitalize,'' Brodzinski said, "and capitalizing will be a really big thing for us for the rest of the year.''

Michigan stretched its lead to 3-1 at 7:00 of the second with the help of another Gophers turnover. Center Thomas Bordeleau blocked defenseman Jackson LaCombe's clearing attempt, and the puck found Michael Pastujov on the doorstep. Pastujov tucked the puck past Close.

In the third period, the Gophers pushed early, with Portillo needing a toe save to deny McLaughlin at 2:27. At 11:29, Sammy Walker had a potential goal disallowed because of a hand pass. Blankenburg stretched the lead to 4-1 at 12:22 of the third.

"I felt like we were peppering them the whole time. Their goalie played unbelievable,'' McLaughlin said of the 6-6, 225-pound Portillo.

Added Motzko, "We were pretty good tonight — except for scoring goals.''