Tony Granato’s first victory as Wisconsin coach came despite a wacky night on special teams.
The Badgers scored four power-play goals but allowed two short-handed scores.
Northern Michigan had a third-period five-on-three advantage but failed to convert.
And Trent Frederic’s first collegiate goal on — what else? — a Wisconsin power play with 8:24 remaining pushed the Badgers to a 6-5 victory at the Resch Center.
Granato had no expectations of his first collegiate victory being such a slugfest.
“No, but it was exciting,” he said.
Frederic swatted home a loose puck near the net, giving the Badgers their highest power-play output since Oct. 15, 2010, against Alabama-Huntsville.
Robbie Payne scored two short-handed goals and assisted on the three other goals for the Wildcats (1-1), but it wasn’t enough to complete a season-opening sweep of the Badgers (1-1).
Darien Craighead scored his second goal of the game to give Northern Michigan a 5-4 lead 2:21 into the third period, but Wisconsin defenseman Corbin McGuire tied the game 59 seconds later with his second score of the night.
Penalties to the Badgers’ Seamus Malone and Luke Kunin 24 seconds apart gave the Wildcats a two-man advantage. The Badgers stymied the power play, with goaltender Matt Jurusik making a sliding post-to-post stop to deny Craighead’s effort at a hat trick.
“That was the biggest point of the game,” Granato said.
Kunin, Will Johnson and Malone also scored for the Badgers, who got 25 saves from Jurusik to end a five-game losing streak to the Wildcats at the Resch Center.
Mathias Israelsson started for Northern Michigan but was pulled after allowing four goals on 17 shots. Atte Tolvanen made 13 saves but allowed the final two goals.
Gerard Hanson added his second goal of the series for the Wildcats.
Connecticut 4, Alabama-Huntsville 0
UConn junior Spencer Naas scored twice for the Huskies and goaltender Rob Nichols made 23 saves to post his second shutout of the Chargers this weekend to complete the two-game sweep. Matt Larose made 28 saves in taking the loss for Alabama-Huntsville.
Bemidji State 4, Bowling Green 1
Charlie O’Connor netted a goal early in the third period to break a 1-1 deadlock and Bemidji State added two power-play goals as insurance as the Beavers knocked off Bowling Green, 4-1, to complete the weekend sweep. Michael Bitzer stopped 22 shots for the Beavers to improve to 2-0-0 on the young season.
Minnesota State 4, Michigan Tech 0
The Mavericks used three power play tallies and a 25-save shutout from Cole Huggins to sweep the Huskies in Mankato, Minn. Four different goal scorers tallied for the Mavericks. Michigan Tech, which opened the season ranked 17 in the USCHO.com poll, drops to 0-4-0 (0-2-0 in the WCHA).
Alaska at Alaska-Anchorage