MADISON, Wis. — Facing an early 3-0 deficit against a Wisconsin squad that was coming off of a sweep of North Dakota the previous weekend, things could not have looked more bleak for Nebraska-Omaha.
Apparently, someone forgot to tell the Mavericks. Senior forward Alex Hudson’s goal with 21 seconds helped Nebraska-Omaha cap a wild rally and edge the Badgers 5-4 Friday night at the Kohl Center.
“Down 3-0, our guys really fought back and showed a lot of character,” Mavericks coach Dean Blais said. “Wisconsin capitalized right away but our guys stuck with it and I’m proud with the way they battled.”
Hudson’s first tally of the season completed a comeback that began in the closing stages of the first period when Badgers freshman goaltender Landon Peterson, who was enjoying a 3-0 cushion at the time, mishandled the puck behind his own net. Minocqua, Wis., native Brent Gwidt cashed in on the freebie to cut the Wisconsin lead to 3-1.
With just under five minutes remaining in the second period Nebraska-Omaha junior forward Terry Broadhurst made things interesting at 3-2, scoring a power-play goal after the Badgers took their first of two costly penalties for two many men on the ice.
Under three minutes into the third period, the Mavericks tied the score when sophomore forward Matt White was sprung loose on a rush up the right wing by Broadhurst. Cruising in alone on Peterson, White made no mistake on his shot to the top left corner.
“That was a great play by Terry and I just sort of skated into it and put it on net,” White said. “Fortunately it went in and we able to add a couple of more to finish it off.”
Less than two minutes later Wisconsin briefly regained a one-goal advantage at 4-3 when sophomore forward Tyler Barnes answered with a power-play goal.
But the Badgers failed to sustain the momentum and with just over 14 minutes remaining the Mavericks knotted things up at 4-4. Broadhurst picked up his second goal of the contest, burying a fortunate carom off of junior defenseman Bryce Aneloski’s initial shot.
Broadhurst then set up Hudson’s one-timer in the game’s closing seconds to give Nebraska-Omaha a surprising two points. It was the Mavericks captain’s fourth point of the night.
“When Broadhurst is wheeling, there are not a lot of guys that are more exciting or that can skate the way he can,” Blais said. “He, White and Hudson were a good combination tonight.”
The final result was a far cry from the first period dominated by the Badgers. Forty-six seconds after the opening the faceoff Wisconsin broke the ice as Badgers junior forward Derek Lee unleashed a bomb from just inside the blue line that eluded Mavericks freshman goaltender Ryan Massa.
Three minutes later Barnes made it a 2-0 Wisconsin advantage, scoring a highlight-reel goal. Skating in a two-on-two rush, teammate Mark Zengerle performed a spin-o-rama to fool Nebraska-Omaha sophomore defender Michael Young, before feeding Barnes, who was left with a tap-in tally.
“Zengerle came down the wing and I just went hard to the net,” Barnes said. “Mark knew where I was going and he just made a fantastic play.”
The Badgers burst continued on a five-on-three power play two minutes later as Wisconsin forward Michael Mersch finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play set up once again by Zengerle.
Wisconsin (3-4-0, 2-3-0 WCHA) will attempt to salvage a split Saturday night when the teams rematch in what should be festive Halloween Saturday contest.
“As long as we learn our lessons [and utilize] the pent-up frustration that we had at the end of the game, we should be OK tomorrow,” Badgers coach Mike Eaves said. “But we need better details.”
Meanwhile, Nebraska-Omaha (4-3-0, 3-0-0) will be looking to continue its perfect league record and escape Madison with a rare four-point weekend.
“We allowed three power-play goals so we have to stay out the box tomorrow, that’s plain and simple,” White said. “But we need to get more pucks to the net earlier [than we did Friday].”
Video: Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais
Video: Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves
Video: Wisconsin forwards Tyler Barnes and Mark Zengerle