College Hockey:
Badgers Remain Perfect With Dessner’s OT Winner, 4-3

Wisconsin Tops Mankato to Move to 6-0

— For the second consecutive evening Wisconsin overcame an early deficit and defeated Minnesota State-Mankato. In Game 2 of the weekend series, the Badgers (4-0 WCHA, 6-0 overall) used a tremendous individual effort by forward Brad Winchester and a sparkling connection in overtime between forward Dany Heatley and defenseman Jeff Dessner to win 4-3 on Saturday.

With the Mavericks (0-4 WCHA, 0-4 overall) leading 3-2 late in the third period, Wisconsin center Kent Davyduke won a faceoff to Winchester. The ensuing shot deflected off a Maverick player and Winchester’s follow up attempt then fluttered meekly to the right of the net. Davyduke, though, dug the puck out of the corner and centered it for Winchester, who sent a wrist shot on net.

Maverick goaltender Todd Kelzenberg, who had stymied Wisconsin for much of the evening, was able to squeeze the pads and make the initial save but Winchester fought for the rebound and put the puck in the back of the net.

“Give them credit,” Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer said. “Their goaltender played very well both nights.”

Wisconsin went on a 4-on-3 power play at 3:04 in the overtime period. Just 30 seconds after Badger wing Erik Jensen and Maverick defenseman Ben Christopherson picked up matching minors for an altercation along the boards, Mankato defenseman Andy Hedlund was called for holding after dragging down Heatley on his way to the net.

“[The referee] kind of put his whistle away in the third period and I was surprised that he called that,” Heatley said. “I got a step on the guy and it worked out for us.”

Eleven seconds into the power play, Heatley set up Dessner in the low slot for a game-winning one-timer that beat Kelzenberg through the five-hole.

“Heats moved down and I thought he might try and fake going around the net and give it back to me, [at the] back door,” Dessner said. “I made myself open and he made a great pass and I was able to beat [Kelzenberg].”

Just over 5 1/2 minutes into the first period, Kelzenberg made a brilliant series of saves to keep the game scoreless and set the tone for the first two periods. Wisconsin forwards Matt Hussey and Kent Davyduke had a 2-on-1 break with Hedlund. Hussey skated the puck in and took the initial shot. Kelzenberg made a nice first save and added a spectacular toe save on Davyduke’s rebound opportunity.

Mankato took a 1-0 lead at 7:36 in the first period on the power play. Maverick wing Nate Mauer sent a cross-ice pass from just below the circle to defenseman Joe Bourne, who fired a one-timer back against the grain — picking the corner just over Melanson’s shoulder on the blocker side.

About 3 1/2 minutes later, Bourne and Mauer nearly connected for another goal. This time, Mauer left a drop pass for Bourne just inside the blue line, but the Maverick defenseman’s slap shot caromed off Melanson’s shoulder and into the stands.

The Mavericks took a 2-0 lead at 14:08 in the first period on a 2-on-1 break. Mankato center Peter Holoien’s shot deflected off the stick of UW defenseman Dan Boeser, who was checking Maverick wing Tim Jackman, and into the net.

On a power play in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the first period, the Badgers increased the pressure on Kelzenberg.

Early in the 5-on-4, Hussey got the puck in deep and fed a pass through the crease, but Kelzenberg got a stick on it, keeping Davyduke from getting to the puck. About a minute later, defenseman Jeff Dessner’s shot rebounded off Kelzenberg and onto the stick of wing David Hukalo. Kelzenberg recovered, though, and put a pad on Hukalo’s opportunity.

Wisconsin built off that momentum and cut the lead in half at the 3:23 mark in the second period. Wing Erik Jensen corralled a loose puck from behind the net and found wing Andy Wheeler crashing to the net. Wheeler went to the top shelf with a quick wrist shot past Kelzenberg.

“The line that really got us going was [Matt] Murray’s line,” Sauer said. “Murray, Wheeler and Jensen — they are the ones that gave us a spark.”

At 13:33 in the second period, Badger wing Matt Doman took a wrist shot from just above the face-off dot that was saved by Kelzenberg. The puck trickled out of the Kelzenberg’s grasp and slid toward the goal, but he was able to recover just before Davyduke got to the loose puck.

Eleven seconds later, Mankato wing Jesse Rooney skated in on Melanson on a breakaway and fired a wrist shot from the low slot that beat the Badger goaltender top shelf to the glove side to give the Mavericks a 3-1 lead.

With the momentum clearly in Mankato’s favor, Sauer elected to slightly change his lines going into the third period, putting Doman on a line with Heatley and Hukalo and moving Winchester to the Hussey-Davyduke line.

“We didn’t have a lot of flow going and the power play was a little stagnant,” Sauer said. “They were doing a good job on Heatley as far as trying to close him down. We gave ourselves a different look in the third period and it paid off.”

Wisconsin drew within 3-2 at 2:58 in the third when Doman’s wrist shot off a faceoff skirted by Kelzenberg. Heatley picked up an assist on the play.

Badger forward Kevin Granato went down in the second period with what, at the time, appeared to be a gruesome leg injury. After the game, however, Sauer said the preliminary indication was a sprained ankle.

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  • Anonymous

    Bittersweet – DaCosta went down :(

    • HENH10

      I am happy for Merrimack, glad to see them having a great year. They looked very fast and talented last night, am hoping UNH can salvage a split, but Lawler is a tough place to play. Tough luck on DaCosta, hopefully he won’t miss much time. I was there, it was a nasty knee on knee, I’m surprised they both didn’t get hurt.

  • Gregoryfam1

    Wow….. Go Warriors

  • B.D.

    I disagree with your statement of “Merrimack currently wins PairWise comparisons with North Dakota and Denver.”

    I believe it assumes an inflated level of quality in the teams Merrrimack has faced.

    • B.D.

      Okay, I think I see what you are getting at. PWR = Gus beats john, who beat jim, who beat frank, who beat Sam, who beat howie, ergo Gus beats Howie.

      • Ed Trefzger

        No. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I know you want to believe in some sort of conspiracy, but this is all mathematics. Go to the Pairwise Rankings page linked above and click on Switch to Pairwise Rankings Comparison Grid. That grid page allows you to see the comparisons the NCAA uses for each pair of teams under consideration. Merrimack wins the comparison with those two teams by NCAA criteria.

        • Just askin

          Don’t waste your time. These UND guys are convinced the whole world is against them – and by now it probably is because they whine so much.

          • FightingSioux4ever

            Hey pal, opinions are like earholes: everbody has one. Your’s just stinks more.

          • Just askin

            You sure told me!

          • Bulldogs07

            Agreed. All I’ve heard from the get go is whining and complaining from NoDak fans about how their team has been disrespected. They’ve been moaning about east coast bias for years, and no league is good enough to match the WCHA in their eyes (ignoring the fact that Hockey East has had the last three champs).

            In short, let them whine…their racist team nickname is finally getting axed, and apparently the only thing to do in the High Plains is whine about teams that are better than theirs.

          • WCHA

            Must be a disgruntled Yale fan.

          • UND whines too much

            The “I know you are but what am I” defense. Are you five years old?

          • WCHA


          • UND whines too much

            At least you have a sense of humor! But seriously, B.D. has no idea how the Pairwise works.

        • B.D.

          No insult or conspiracy intended, just recapping how the PWR methodology works. If team A beats Team B, then B Beats C, and C beats D, in theory A beats D.

          Its logic flow thus follows that everything gets thrown into flux if at the last game A loses to D. Correct?

        • B.D.

          If the model I listed above is accurate, then it does not take a strong schedule into effect. In effect, a pair of wins against two seperate highly ranked teams could hyper inflate ones standing in a PWR ranking while the team maintains a normal schedule of pretty substandard games.

          Just curious, how does the current model used adjust to strength of schedule?

          • Ed Trefzger

            There is a thorough explanation here:


            Your description is incorrect.

            RPI is one component. It takes strength of schedule into account. Merrimack loses to Denver and NoDak in that category.

            Another is record against teams under consideration and the RPI is the gatekeeper for which teams are in that category. So strength of schedule is a major factor again. Merrimack beats both in record against teams under consideration.

            Another is record against common opponents. Merrimack again beats both — those two losses to Maine loom large there for the Sioux in this comparison. Even if Merrimack loses its remaining games to Maine, it still will have a better record against them than North Dakota.

            Last is record head-to-head. Neither DU or North Dakota has played Merrimack.

  • wchafan

    Is this the Merrimack team that gave up six goals in a loss to Mass-Lowell? A Mass-Lowell team that had lost 13 in a row? How’s that strength of schedule again?

    • Trey

      As opposed to, say, North Dakota who gave up seven goals and lost twice to the fifth place team in Hockey East?

      • Anonymous

        Or BC who lost to Vermont. People have the dumbest arguments sometimes. Throw out Merrimack’s great season because they had a bad game against Umass Lowell. And ignore the fact that they beat UML in their two other games with them.

        • HENH10

          They are having a great season, nobody can take that away from them. Now, maybe they can upgrade some facilities and they can keep getting some good talent.

  • Anonymous

    Merrimack has beaten the number one ranked team twice this season. This shouldn’t really surprise people. And the “no big road wins” argument just went out the door last night.

    • Lefty

      Folks, you can wait until Monday afternoon to see the updated Top 20, but I’ll give it to you now in advance as I have a built-in pairwise calculator:

      Division 1 Men’s Poll (February 14, 2011)

      1. BC
      2. North Dakota
      3. Yale
      4. Denver
      5. MN-Duluth
      6. Merrimack
      7. Union
      8. Notre Dame
      9. UNH
      10. Wisconsin
      11. RPI
      12. Michigan
      13. Miami
      14. BU
      15. Nebraska-Omaha
      16. Dartmouth
      17. W. Michigan
      18. Maine
      19. Colorado College
      20. Ferris State

      • Beanpot101

        Yea…thanks for not having it 100% right

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