HOUGHTON, Mich. — An impending snowstorm couldnt help the Michigan Tech Huskies put the freeze on the No. 11 Wisconsin Badger offense for the second straight night.
The Badgers got an early power-play tally from Michael Davies, and used the ensuing momentum to earn a 4-1 victory at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena Saturday night.
They got some opportunities and they buried, said Huskies head coach Jamie Russell. That was the difference between a tie game and their winning 4-1.
The Huskies had plenty of momentum early in the game as junior center Ryan Angelow unloaded a slap shot that hit the crossbar just under three minutes in. A minute and a half later, freshman center Eric Kattelus fired a long shot from the left circle that Badgers goaltender Shane Connelly kicked out just in front of Huskies captain Jimmy Kerr, but Kerr couldnt quite get to the puck.
Shane was solid when he needed to be all weekend, said Badgers head coach Eaves. He made good decisions.
Davies, a sophomore winger, worked hard to get himself open on the man advantage and sophomore defenseman Jamie McBain found him on the far side of the crease with a gaping net to shoot at. Huskies netminder Rob Nolan had nearly no chance of getting across in time. The goal, Davies eighth of the season, was also assisted by sophomore Blake Geoffrion.
The Badgers finished 1-5 on the man advantage.
Looking for the equalizer on a Huskies power play, Kattelus unloaded a cannon that Connelly snagged before it could cross the goal line.
Freshman defenseman Cody Goloubef extended the Badgers lead to two with a long blast that eluded Nolan for the goal. With the Huskies still a man short from a penalty that had just expired, freshman winger Patrick Johnson got the puck to Goloubef in perfect position for him to fire it. Captain Davis Drewiske also assisted on Goloubefs second goal of the season.
The Badgers (13-11-6 overall, 9-9-4 WCHA) started the second period with a power play, but it soon turned into a Huskies power play after Geoffrion slashed senior defenseman Mark Malekoff. The Huskies held their own on the ensuing four-on-four and cashed in on the power play.
Senior center Peter Rouleau fed the puck out to junior defenseman Geoff Kinrade in the high slot. Kinrade fired a wrist shot through traffic and over Connellys left shoulder to even the game at 2:43. The goal, Kinrades second of the season, was also assisted by assistant captain Tyler Shelast.
The guys made a good play down low and when the puck came out me, the guys just overcommitted, said Kinrade. Shelast made a nice screen in front.
The Huskies would finish 1-6 on the power play.
I thought our power play was better tonight, said Russell. We need to find a way to score some goals five-on-five.
Less than two minutes later, the Badgers had a golden opportunity to regain their two-goal lead when Davies stole the puck from sophomore defenseman Mike VanWagner, and deked Nolan. With the puck sliding toward the open net, Malekoff somehow got his stick on it and cleared it away. Nolan finished the game with 23 stops.
The trend of somewhat questionable calls for the weekend continued when Huskies winger Ryan Bunger was whistled for goaltender interference on a play in which he received a pass while crashing the net midway through the period. Luckily for the Huskies, the Badgers power play couldnt really get anything going.
Davies had another opportunity with three and a half minutes to go in the period as he skated around the net with the puck, trying for the wraparound, but Nolan stood his ground, and the Huskies were able to get the clear.
The Huskies (10-13-5 overall, 6-10-4 WCHA) regrouped for the third period, and it showed as both Shelast and Rouleau both attempted to lift the puck over Connellys left shoulder within seconds of each other. Shelasts shot hit the outside of the net, while Rouleaus was stopped.
The Badgers regained the two-goal lead 5:40 into the period when freshman defenseman Craig Johnson lifted a wrist shot over Nolans right shoulder for his first collegiate goal. Freshman center Sean Dolan and sophomore winger John Mitchell both assisted on the goal.
Shelast narrowly missed an opportunity to cut the Badgers lead in half on the man advantage halfway through the period when he took a pass from Rouleau on the top of the crease, but he fired just wide of the far post.
Dolan extended the Badgers lead to three with a laser beam of a wrist shot at 15:24. Dolan received a pass from Mitchell right in his wheel house and Nolan had little chance of coming up with the stop. The goal, Dolans fourth, was also assisted by sophomore winger Ben Grotting.
The Huskies had one last chance to get back into the game with a power play for the last 1:52 of the period, but they couldnt really get any scoring chances.
With 27 saves tonight and 19 stops on Friday night, Connelly — who allowed only two goals in the series — was awarded the Winter Carnival MVP award.