MILWAUKEE — When a scoring change was announced late in the game, giving Darren Haydar his career-high sixth point of the night, some of the hundreds of fans left in the Bradley Center started the “Hobey Baker” chant.
That’s not the surprising part; Haydar will get that treatment from New Hampshire fans for the rest of the season.
The surprising part is where the cheers came from — a group of fans in Wisconsin apparel.
Haydar scored three goals and assisted on three others as New Hampshire took the championship of the Bank One Badger Hockey Showdown on Friday with an 11-3 thrashing of Brown.
“I said to Darren, the best compliment you received this weekend was the fans from Wisconsin saying ‘Hobey Baker,’” UNH coach Dick Umile said. “There’s no question he’s a Hobey Baker candidate; I’d be shocked if he wasn’t a finalist.”
Haydar, who took home honors as the tournament MVP, claimed the nation’s scoring lead — he has 18 goals and 26 assists for 44 points.
“I feel really good right now,” Haydar said. “It’s always a good feeling when you’re scoring goals and your team’s scoring and winning. It’s a little frustrating when you’re not, so I don’t want to think too much about it, don’t want to jinx myself.”
The Wildcats scored nine times in the third period to break open a game that was tied at 2 after two periods. That, combined with a four-goal third period Thursday night in a 6-2 victory over Colorado College, provided UNH a 13-1 advantage in the final period in the Showdown.
“We’ve had some pretty good third periods,” Umile said, “and this is up there, obviously.”
That might be the understatement of the tournament.
Brown (4-6-1) actually held command in the third period … for 31 seconds. That’s how long it took Haydar to notch his second goal of the night and give the Wildcats (13-3-2) a 3-2 lead.
It came on a 2-on-1 rush out of the neutral zone. Haydar took a pass on the right side from Sean Collins and buried the puck.
“I thought, actually, our first shift in the third period we had them in their zone for a bit and were doing the things we wanted to do,” Brown coach Roger Grillo said. “All of a sudden, a bad decision by our defenseman stepping up gave them a 2-on-1 and they capitalized on it. “You can’t give hockey players like they have too many odd-man rushes because they’re going to capitalize on them.”
The Wildcats did over and over again in the third period. Haydar scored two of the goals, but seven other players also found the back of the net in the last 20 minutes. David Busch scored the 10th of the game for UNH, his second of the night.
“I think we’re better off going into the third period tied with a team or down a goal or two,” Haydar said. “It seems that way we come out and we score a lot of goals. When we’re up one or two goals, we seem to relax and let teams back in the game. We seem to let the teams come to us, which isn’t our forte. We’re better off taking it to teams and playing our game.”
Haydar was asked if winning the national scoring title is one of his goals for the season.
“I want a national championship,” he said. “We were so close my freshman year. That’s what’s driving me the most right now, that feeling of losing in the national championship game in overtime. I can’t describe what it felt like to lose, and that’s what’s itching right now. I’m just happy our team’s winning.”