MADISON, Wis. — Dany Heatley has come alive.
The Wisconsin sophomore forward headed into Friday night’s matchup against Michigan Tech with national Offensive Player of the Week honors for his five-point effort last weekend against Colorado College.
Friday at the Kohl Center, Heatley was still on, scoring one goal and assisting on three others as Wisconsin defeated Michigan Tech 5-3.
“I think when [Heatley] decides to play, he is maybe one of the best to play in the league,” Michigan Tech coach Mike Sertich said. “He is a great talent, there is no question about it.”
The Badgers struck first Friday, scoring the first goal a little over halfway into the opening frame.
Following a surge of shots by both teams, one finally found the back of the net. Twelve minutes and 24 seconds into the period David Hukalo took a Heatley pass and one-timed it past Husky goaltender Brian Rogers. On the play the puck trickled into the goal, giving UW a 1-0 lead.
The next goal did not come until 7:33 into the second period; it was Heatley who once again made the pass that led to the goal. The sophomore gathered the puck close to the Wisconsin goal, skated a few feet forward and flicked it forward to a streaking Rene Bourque. Bourque outraced a Michigan Tech defenseman to the puck and sent a shot between the Husky goaltender’s legs, opening up the lead to 2-0.
The goal marked Heatley’s 100th career point as a Badger and was Bourque’s seventh goal of the season, with four of those coming in the last three contests.
Later on in the second period Michigan Tech showed it would not go down without a fight as the Huskies put in their first goal of the net five minutes after Wisconsin’s second.
On the play Michigan Tech forward Paul Cabana passed the puck towards the goal from his position close to the boards. The pass found fellow forward Chris Durno, who managed to slide it past UW goaltender Graham Melanson before the senior could react, bringing the score to 2-1.
Late in the period the Huskies were presented with a golden opportunity to level the game at two goals apiece. When Wisconsin’s Matt Muarry was called for slashing at the 17:01 mark it gave Michigan Tech a two-man advantage for the next 1:33. The UW defense stiffened, however, and did not allow the equalizer, and so headed into the third period with a 2-1 lead.
Melanson came up big in the second, recording 22 saves to stave off the Husky attack.
“It was an interesting hockey game,” Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer said. “We didn’t do a good job on the power play, but we did a good job on killing penalties.”
For the night both the Badgers and the Huskies went 0-for-5 on the power play.
Early in the third Michigan Tech knotted the game at two off a Brett Engelhardt score. On the play Engelhardt took a shot from Melanson’s right that ended up bouncing off the UW goaltender’s chest and onto the ice, where a streaking Engelhardt collected his own rebound and fired a second shot, this one landing in the back of the net.
A little over a minute later Wisconsin took the lead for good. Three minutes and 21 seconds into the third, defenseman Jeff Dessner scored his sixth goal of the season. Eric Jensen flicked the puck to the front of the goal from behind, and Andy Wheeler got a stick on it before Dessner shot the puck into the back of the net.
UW added what would become a critical goal at 14:14 as Heatley received a Dessner pass and skated in on the left side of the ice, deked Rogers twice and shot the puck low and just barely into the net, giving UW a 4-2 advantage.
“I had some speed going and I pretty much beat him with speed,” Heatley said. “He actually made a nice save, but ended up kicking it into the goal.”
“That goal was a big one — it gave us back a two-goal lead,” Sauer added.
The importance of that was realized less than a minute later when Husky forward Matt Ulwelling scored on a nice move, as he cut in straight to the middle of the ice after crossing the blue line. Once there Ulwelling shot the puck high over Melanson’s shoulder, bringing the match to 4-3.
Michigan Tech, however, was unable to get any closer and Wisconsin added an open-net goal from Wheeler at the 18:45 mark to bring the final score to 5-3.
“I felt confident from the drop of the puck that we were going to win the game,” Heatley said. “I think we’re going to win tomorrow too.”