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College Hockey:
Overtime magic continues for Oleksuk, Minnesota-Duluth in win over Wisconsin

— On one side, you had a coach who couldn’t explain why his team has so much success in overtime.

On the other, you had a coach who bit his tongue before explaining what happened in the latest extra session.

Travis Oleksuk’s second goal of the game, with 10.8 seconds remaining in overtime, helped No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth escape a crazy night at the Kohl Center with a 6-5 victory over No. 15 Wisconsin.

The Bulldogs improved to 10-1-11 in their last 22 overtime games, spanning the last two-plus seasons.

How?

“I don’t know. I really don’t,” Minnesota-Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin said. “I’d like to say I’ve got this masterful game plan, but it’s try and get pucks to the net and any shot is good.”

Oleksuk slid home the rebound after a poke check attempt by Wisconsin goaltender Brett Bennett—the fourth goaltender to sign into the game between the two teams.

But it was what happened in the seconds before that had Wisconsin enraged. Bulldogs forward Mike Connolly appeared to get his stick in the skates of Wisconsin’s Jake Gardiner, causing the defenseman to fall and lose control of the puck.

“It was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen,” Badgers coach Mike Eaves said.

Eaves referenced the case of Rensselaer coach Seth Appert, who was suspended one game by ECAC Hockey this week for using part of his postgame news conference to show reporters video of a controversial call.

“The referee in chief will clearly hear from us, and that’s about all I’m going to say about this,” Eaves said. “You guys [reporters] saw it. You can write about it and you won’t get penalized. I will definitely have a call with Mr. Greg Shepherd.”

It was the second overtime goal this season for Oleksuk, who also won the Oct. 29 game against Bemidji State with seven seconds left in the extra session.

“I can’t explain it,” Oleksuk said. “The puck just seems to be lucky for me right now. It seems to be going in. I’ll stick with that.”

There weren’t full explanations for the struggles by the starting goaltenders, either, in a game where two-goal leads didn’t amount to much.

Minnesota-Duluth’s Kenny Reiter was summoned to the bench after allowing three goals on eight shots in the game’s first 18:56.

Sean Dolan, Tyler Barnes and Craig Smith scored in the first period for the Badgers after Mike Seidel scored the first of his two goals for the Bulldogs.

Part of the reasoning behind the move was to give the rest of the team a wake-up call, Sandelin said. “We were playing [poorly],” he said. “You still need one of those saves.”

Wisconsin’s Scott Gudmandson got the hook after seeing three of the 13 shots he faced go past him in 25:15.

Seidel and Justin Fontaine scored on Gudmandson in the first 5:15 of the second period to even the game at 3-3.

“Pucks that he should have been stopping, that he usually stops, he didn’t stop,” Eaves said. “We haven’t seen that from Goody.”

Oleksuk put Minnesota-Duluth (10-1-2 overall, 7-1-1 in the WCHA) ahead just 17 seconds after Fontaine’s goal—and on the first shot Bennett faced. Kyle Schmidt made it 5-3 with nine minutes remaining in the second, completing a four-goal swing.

Jordy Murray pulled the Badgers within a goal before the end of the second period, but the flow of goals subsided in the third period, even as Wisconsin (6-5-2, 3-4-2) searched for an equalizer.

It finally came in the final minute, when Barnes got a piece of a Craig Smith shot to deflect it underneath Bulldogs goaltender Aaron Crandall with 43.4 seconds remaining.

The emotions took a 180-degree turn near the end of overtime. Wisconsin had its third straight home loss, and Minnesota-Duluth earned a fourth straight victory.

“Sometimes, if you believe, good things happen,” Sandelin said.

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  • Maroon Loon

    Refs swallowed their whistles the entire overtime. Easily could have been two penalties against UW right at the start of the extra frame. Even the homer-badger announcers on TV said it.

    That being said, late in OT, Mike Connolly dove for a …puck and knocked it away from some badger, who was already leaning heavily to the side that he would eventually fall towards (I am rather certain you could have brushed him with a feather and knocked him over) and Mike’s body and stick where sliding next to the UW player, but it wasn’t a cut and dry tripping penalty. With how quiet the whistles had been through OT, I very well may have blown a gasket if they had called a penalty on Connolly for that play.

    • al

      I agree. The refs let the boys play in OT. While it could have easily been called the badgers could have also easily been on the penalty kill for most of OT.

    • snide

      Correct. It wasn’t even his stick he took the guy out with. Good no call; DVR proved it.

  • Sh996699

    Maroon, you are a MORON, an idiot. It was clearly a trip.

    • UMD Fan

      Sh996699 – Maroon isn’t a moron, you are a sore loser. Maroon is right, we aren’t complaining about the two non calls against the Badgers that the announcers did say they got away at the start of the OT. If we would have got a power play in OT, UMD would have scored a lot sooner than they did.

    • Maroon Loon

      Oh look Sh996699, We swept you at home!! Suck it Bucky!

  • smoothT

    its 1 thing to let a team play in OT, but to clearly dump the guy with the puck in the offensive zone has to be called. UMD fans can come of their high horse because you would be pissing and moaning if it was called against you.
    What do you think they were reviewing after the game? they were trying to figure out how they blew such an obvious call.

  • Pc

    When Mike Eaves shows Greg Sheperd the tape of the Connolly play, don’t forget to show him the 3-4 penalties that should have been called on Wisconsin at the end of the game and the overtime. Hey Mike, get a box of tisses and quit your whining!!!! The refs let em play!!!!!

    pc

  • Jimmyjames

    What were the refs reviewing at the end of the game? Some way to reverse the goal because they missed a potential tripping call for the visiting team?

  • markerice

    I remember a game in Madison a few years back, Gophers vs. Badgers, game is in overtime, puck is in the Minnesota end, Minnesota player goes for the puck in the corner, the Wisconsin player puts his stick blade on the Gopher player’s shoulder and pulls him down from behind, gets the puck, and bingo, Wisconsin wins in overtime. No call by the ref (Boche). Don’t know if Boche was screened and couldn’t see it, or just didn’t want to make a call and put the home town Badgers shorthanded in OT, but it was clearly a hook, and it should have been a Gopher power play, instead it’s a Wisconsin OT game winning goal. I guess what goes around comes around.

  • Swimmman

    if you badger fans didn’t notice he hit the puck before he tripped the dude, so by the rules that is not a penalty.

    • Kflegs77

      If you use common sense, and clearly see that the Badger took two strides with the puck after it was touched by a Bulldog, then it was in fact tripping. Refs don’t like to call penalties in overtime and the best outcome for this game should be a tie because UMD didn’t play like a number one team and Wisconsin wasn’t a top 20 team either. Complaints about non-calls on UW are rediculous because their PK is pretty solid. UMD is a better team, UW is too young, and what an ugly game by all parties, including stripes.(both ways)

  • DtownDogs

    It was a trip, plain and simple, but there was a non call slash against against Flaherty with a wide open net and he had the puck knocked off his stick, there was also a hook in the UMD zone that negated a two on one with Schmidt and Oleksuk, instead it was a turn over.

    It was an awful way to lose a game for UW, but like UMD Fan said it could have been over a lot earlier if the refs didn’t let the boys play.

  • Jon

    You Bulldogs fans are either stupid or mentally challenged (I’m guessing a little of column A and a little of column B). A trip is a trip, regardless of all the other non-calls. Morons!

    Oh and that goes for No Dak fans too! Idiots!

    • lardy

      so is interference, which was also NOT CALLED on your precious Bucky earlier in the OT. Even the Wisconsin announcers said they got away with one earlier.

  • snide

    In frame-by-frame slowmo on the DVR, the Bulldog player clearly swatted the puck away before making contact with the Badger player. Good no call…I wonder what impartial announcers would have had to say.