MADISON, Wis. — After slogging through a tough first game back from the holiday break, Wisconsin was happy enough to see a shootout victory as a regular victory.
Andrew Joudrey scored in the second sudden-death round of a shootout to break a 2-2 tie with Yale and send the Badgers to Saturday night’s championship game of the Badger Hockey Showdown.
No. 4 Wisconsin and Yale played to a 1-1 tie through regulation and five minutes of overtime, and the game counts as a tie on each team’s record. The shootout was used only to determine who advanced in the tournament.
With Joudrey’s help, Wisconsin is the one that’ll face Ferris State for the Pettit Cup. The sophomore center beat Yale goaltender Matt Modelski between the pads in the seventh round of the shootout, allowing Wisconsin to save some face and advance to the final of their tournament for the third straight year and for the 12th time in 16 years.
“We’ll take it as a win,” Joudrey said. “We’re in the championship tomorrow, so we’ll take it as a ‘W.’”
Yale (1-11-1) will face Clarkson for third place.
In regulation, Joe Zappala put Yale ahead with a third-period goal and Wisconsin’s Joe Pavelski answered less than two minutes later. Modelski made 26 saves for Yale, while Brian Elliott stopped 20 shots for the Badgers (13-5-1).
Each team scored twice in the first five rounds of the shootout. Brad Mills and Christian Jensen gave the Bulldogs leads before Pavelski and Matt Ford responded for the Badgers.
Mills and Wisconsin’s Robbie Earl both missed in the sixth round — the first round of sudden death — and Yale’s Jeff Hristovski shot over the net to open the seventh round before Joudrey ended things by scoring.
Despite losing a third-period lead, Yale was able to take pride in its effort.
“I’m very proud and pleased with the way the Yale hockey team played today,” said Bulldogs coach Tim Taylor, whose team lost its first nine games of the season. “I think it was far and away our best team effort. It was a great bench (in terms of) atmosphere and everybody being focused. We’ve had a lot of stuff go bad for us this year, and it would be pretty easy for us to dwell on that.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the fact that mentally, these kids were ready to play a determined game against a team that was heavily favored. It should mean a lot to them, and it should be something to build upon.”
Wisconsin, which got off to a slow start after a two-week break, might have looked past Yale, which entered the week with the worst winning percentage of the 58 Division I teams.
“We thought it would come easy tonight,” Joudrey said. “I think we overlooked them, but we were able to fight back and even on a bad night we found a way to win.”
Zappala put Yale ahead 1-0 with 11:50 remaining in the third period, moving to the net untouched and putting home a rebound off a drive up the right wing by Mills.
But Pavelski tied the game less than two minutes later when he took a blue line-to-blue line pass from Earl and fired a slap shot high past Modelski’s glove. The goal extended Pavelski’s point-scoring streak to a team-high six games.