It’s not often that both sides of a tie game are happy with the result, but that was the case Saturday night between the No. 11 University of Denver Pioneers and the No. 15 University of Wisconsin Badgers, who skated to a 2-2 tie.
For the Pioneers, it was coming back to tie the game despite going down into a 2-0 hole.
“I was very pleased by how we battled in that third period and in that overtime and even though it wasn’t a win, I thought we passed a very challenging test,” said DU coach George Gwozdecky.
For the Badgers, it was about redemption from the previous night’s 4-2 loss.
“We told the boys there’s going to be a natural sense that you’re disappointed because we gave up the lead in the third period,” said coach Mike Eaves, “but as we told them as a staff, we’re going to win a lot of hockey games playing like we did tonight.”
The Badgers got on the board first about five minutes into the first period. Freshman Mark Zengerle let a cannon fly from the top of the circles that beat DU goaltender Sam Brittain (25 saves).
UW extended their lead to two goals 8:17 into the second frame when Sean Dolan one-timed a pass from Ryan Little past Brittain.
The Pioneers pressured hard throughout the game, particularly through some power plays in the second period and at the start of the third, peppering Badgers goaltender Scott Gudmandson with shots.
The barrage finally paid off about halfway through the third when Kyle Ostrow floated a shot over Gudmandson’s right shoulder (36 saves).
Ostrow got his second of the game for the Pioneers when he knocked an Anthony Maiani rebound through Gudmandson’s legs with just under five minutes to go to tie it up.
“We talked in the locker room at the second intermission and I challenged our three senior forwards,” said Gwozdecky. “They certainly responded. Kyle and Jesse [Martin] and Anthony did a terrific job and obviously, once we got that first one, the ice just tilted.”
That was the last offense either team saw though, as they battled through a scoreless overtime frame.
“We can walk out of here with our heads held high,” said Eaves. “We got our first point in the league.”
The Pioneers next travel to North Dakota to face the Fighting Sioux while the Badgers return home for a series against Michigan Tech.