Two second period goals, one coming on the power play and one on the shorthand, currently stand as the difference as Wisconsin leads Maine, 3-1, through 40 minutes of play in Thursday’s second semifinal of the 2006 Frozen Four.
The opening period saw each team feel one another out for most of the frame, with Wisconsin holding a slight 9-8 advantage in shots. The teams ended up even on the scoreboard thanks to two pucks bouncing off defensemen and into their own nets.
Wisconsin was the first beneficiary when Adam Burish’s shot caromed off the hip of Maine blueliner Travis Wight at 10:11. Then, late in the period, a Michel Leveille shot hit the skate of Wisconsin’s Matt Olinger and bounded through the legs of goaltender Brian Elliott.
The Leveille goal was the first allowed by Elliott in 270 minutes, 26 seconds.
Early in the second, Wisconsin regained the lead, this time scoring shorthanded. Ross Carlson broke out of the zone with some speed, made a nifty move around Leveille, then set and fired a blast that beat Maine netminder Ben Bishop along the ice at 4:18.
Maine had its chance to even the game, again shorthanded, when Greg Moore broke in on a two-on-one at 8:08. When Elliott made the save, the Badgers headed the other way on their own odd-man rush, and extended the lead eight seconds later.
Robbie Earl’s snap shot from the right faceoff dot beat Bishop far side over the blocker to give the Badgers a 3-1 lead.
The game was billed as a battle of special teams, Maine boasting the top penalty-kill in the nation and the third-best power play, while Wisconsin’s penalty-kill ranks third.
Through two periods, though, Wisconsin owned the best of it, having scored with both the man-advantage and on the shorthand and killed all six Maine power plays.