MADISON, Wis. — In a back-and-forth hockey game, Wisconsin was able to force overtime, but Colorado College came away with a 4-3 victory in the extra session.
After being outplayed for the better part of two periods, Wisconsin (8-6, 5-5 WCHA) found a way to tie the game at 15:11 in the third period when Matt Murray put a shot on net from the circle. Tiger goaltender Jeff Sanger made the save, but did not cover the rebound and Badger wing Erik Jensen poked the puck between the Tiger goaltender’s pads to make the score 3-3.
However, Colorado College (7-3, 7-3) set the tone for the overtime period from the initial drop of the puck. Eighteen seconds into the period, center Alex Kim took a shot from the slot that was looking top shelf before Melanson got a glove on it.
After the opportunity, the Tigers kept the pressure on Wisconsin, who never had control of the puck in the Colorado College zone during overtime.
Two minutes, 39 seconds into the extra session, wing Peter Sejna, who had victimized the Badgers throughout the game, struck again, getting a step on the Badgers and cutting down the boards through Wisconsin’s zone. As he neared the bottom of the circle, Sejna sent a pass toward the crease for Kim, who got a stick on it and put it past Melanson for the game-winning goal.
“I was very pleased with our whole effort this weekend because Wednesday we lose Mark Cullen and early in the game [last night] we lose Paul Manning and we are on the road in an adverse setting,” Colorado College coach Scott Owens said. “I learned more about my team this weekend than I have the previous four weeks.”
With the game tied at 2-2 in the second period, Colorado College lost another skater at the 2:00 mark when wing Trent Clark was called for a five-minute major penalty and game disqualification for spearing.
The Badgers, though, were unable to convert on the ensuing five-minute power play and the Tigers tilted the ice in their favor from that point on.
“Tonight we reverted back to trying to be cute, trying to make the extra pass, and trying to make the extra play,” Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer said. “That five-minute major there, we had an opportunity to put the game away and we didn’t do it.”
“I thought we got momentum coming out of that kill,” Owens said. “Then we got into a good roll on the forechecking. I think we got about four or five good shifts in a row.”
Colorado College took advantage of the extra jump as Sejna, who had 12 shots in the game, put the Tigers up 3-2 at 9:38 in the second period off a faceoff victory by Kim.
Colorado College opened the game’s scoring on a five-on-three power play. On the play, Tiger defenseman Tom Preissing took a shot from the high slot that caromed off Melanson and out to center Noah Clarke above the circle. Clarke then beat Melanson through the five-hole with a wrist shot to make it 1-0.
Wisconsin tied the game at 10:54 when Badger forward John Eichelberger backchecked and made a nice play to strip the puck and send it cross ice toward defenseman Brian Fahey, who quickly made an outlet pass to wing Jake Heisler cutting through the neutral zone. Heisler skated hard across the blue line and then got the puck to linemate Rene Bourque, who quickly put a wrist shot past Tiger goaltender Jeff Sanger for his first goal of his collegiate career.
“Rene did exactly what he needed to,” Sauer said. “The goaltender was coming across the net and he went back to where the goaltender was coming from. That is a goal scorers’ goal.”
Colorado College took a 2-1 lead on an incredible individual effort by Sejna at the 19:55 mark in the first period. After Wisconsin got caught crashing to the net in its offensive zone, Sejna skated down ice one on one against Badger defenseman Dan Boeser with defenseman Jeff Dessner hustling back to help out. Sejna set them up at the blue line, cutting slightly to the right, before pulling back to the left toward the high slot to avoid Dessner.
Sejna then pulled the puck back as Boeser attempted to play the body and got a step on the Badger defenseman. He cruised through the slot before shooting against the grain on Melanson, dancing the puck off the tip of Melanson’s glove and into the net.
“Tonight [Sejna] just decided to take charge,” Owens said. “It is hard to get the puck away from him. He is tenacious. He is like the Tasmanian Devil.”
Wisconsin countered just one minute and seven seconds into the second period when Sanger inadvertently deflected Kent Davyduke’s centering pass off Badger wing Dany Heatley, who had been dragged down on the play by Tiger defenseman Mike Colgan.
Despite having lost six of the last seven games, Wisconsin continues to keep a positive attitude about the rest of the season.
“We still have 18 games left to play,” Sauer said. “Every goal that we want to reach is still available to us.”
“We are shooting to win the WCHA and that goal hasn’t changed,” Dessner said. “We just have to regroup and refocus.”
Owens said that the extent of the knee injury Manning suffered Friday would not be known until an MRI is performed once the team returns to Colorado.