HOUGHTON, Mich. — The Michigan Tech Huskies proved yet again why they are rude hosts during their biggest home weekend of the year, Winter Carnival.
The No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers learned this lesson the hard way as the Huskies battled the Badgers evenly until a pair of freshmen got Tech the lead midway through the game. The Huskies would hold on for dear life and the 1-1 tie.
Were a pretty good team playing with the lead, said Huskies head coach Jamie Russell. We didnt convert on the power play and it feels like we let one slip away.
A scoreless first period was not without its share of scoring chances for both squads. The Badgers (12-11-6 overall, 8-9-4 WCHA) had a great opportunity to take an early lead when sophomore wingers John Mitchell and Ben Grotting had a two-on-one near Huskies netminder Michael-Lee Teslak. Huskies blueliner Mark Malekoff sacrificed his entire body to block the pass from Mitchell.
I thought that we played pretty solid on the road in the first period, said Badgers head coach Mike Eaves. We lost what we done in the first period (in the second).
The Badgers looked to get the games first goal just after the seven minute mark when sophomore defenseman Jamie McBain fired a shot from the right point that beat Teslak. Fortunately for Huskies fans, the puck hit the post and caromed away.
On their second power play of the period, Huskies captain Jimmy Kerr cut hard to the net, but was stopped by Badgers goalie Shane Connelly. Shortly after, sophomore defenseman Drew Dobson fed freshman winger Jordan Baker in front of Connelly, but the puck slipped through Bakers feet. Connelly would finish the game with 19 saves.
The period deteriorated into a parade to the penalty box for the final 6:38 as seven players were whistled for various infractions, and the Badgers had two separate 5-on-3 advantages.
On the second two man advantage, Baker blocked a shot from a Badger defender, picked up the loose puck, skated it the length of the rink, but was kept from getting a scoring chance by a Badger defenseman.
The second period was another evenly contested period with both teams attempting 16 shots, but neither squad getting more than five to the net as both squads defenders blocked shots.
Badger winger Blake Geoffrion misplayed a puck that was flipped in the air, giving the Huskies a chance to the puck deep. Freshman center Eric Kattelus was first to the puck. He skated it around the net and fed freshman winger Bennett Royer wide open on the far side of the crease, and Royer tapped it in. The goal, Royers second of the season, came at 9:06.
I have two great linemates that were getting me the puck all night, said Royer. Eric made a great forecheck and got the puck out to me, and I just thought about hitting the net with it.
The Huskies (10-12-4 overall, 6-9-4 WCHA) had a golden opportunity to extend their lead to two shortly after assistant captain John Schwarz was whistled for holding. Kerr carried the puck into the slot and unloaded a heavy slap shot that hit the crossbar.
I didnt have much legs left underneath me, said Kerr. I just tried to let a shot go, but it just didnt go my way.
The best opportunity for the Badgers in the middle frame came with just four minutes remaining as senior winger Matthew Ford skated into the slot and blasted a long shot that Teslak saw all the way.
The Huskies started the third period with a 5-on3 advantage of their own, but only had one good scoring chance when sophomore defenseman Drew Dobson fired a long shot, but missed the net.
I thought we set up (Dobsons shot) pretty well, said Russell. Thats where you need (the power play) to step it up.
Badgers freshman phenom Kyle Turris often seemed to have trouble finding open ice through the first two periods. That changed in the third as he found himself wide open in the slot just five minutes in. Freshman winger Patrick Johnson fed him, but Teslak made the save.
We started double-shifting (Kyle) in the third period to try to get him away from the match-up they wanted, said Eaves. (Michigan Tech) have some defensemen that they like to have matched up against him.
The Huskies had another golden opportunity to take a two-goal lead when Royer and Kattelus skated in2-on-1 9:46 into the third. Royer held on the puck, using Kattelus as a decoy, but Connelly didnt buy it. The play came back the other way and proved disastrous for the hosts.
Turris would even the game with his second such chance, as sophomore center Aaron Bendickson hit him with a pass in the high slot. Turris fired a wrist shot through traffic that beat Teslak over his right shoulder. The goal, Turris 11 of the campaign, came at 9:55 and was also assisted on by McBain.
It was frustrating as I kind of lost the puck, said Teslak. I actually thought the puck was going to go high.
After Turris evened the game, the Badgers took control of the play for next few minutes, but after that, the game again evened out, until the last minute and a half. After Baker had the puck deep in Badger territory, he fed it across the front of the net. The puck eventually came out to Kattelus who nearly found daylight behind Connelly.
The Huskies would control the ensuing faceoff and get another chance in front of Connelly, but junior winger Derek Kitti couldnt quite pull the trigger.
Just under a minute into the extra session, Teslak was called upon to make a tough save on a long shot from Badgers assistant captain Ben Street, but he made it look routine.
The Badgers had two or three really good opportunities with a minute and a half remaining, but between the Huskies defenders and Teslak, all three shots were kept out of the net.
Teslak was challenged again off a faceoff with seven seconds left as Street unloaded a slap shot, but the puck sailed on him and over the net. He finished the game with 22 saves.
Neither team could convert on numerous power play chances. The Huskies finished 0-6 while the Badgers were scoreless on seven attempts.
The teams will match up again tomorrow at 5:07 p.m. EST.