While Halloween was Thursday, Friday at the Kohl Center gave the Wisconsin men’s hockey team a big scare. After falling in a 3-0 hole in the game’s first 4 minutes and 9 seconds, Wisconsin climbed back and salvaged a tie with Lake Superior State, scoring the tying goal with 1:22 left in regulation.
Only 33 seconds into the tilt, Lake Superior State’s Alex Globke fired a shot that deflected off several players and found its way past a dazed junior goaltender Landon Peterson for Wisconsin (2-2-1). Just a little less than three minutes later, the Lakers (4-0-1) tickled the twine again, this time on a rebound power play goal by Dan Radke. But LSSU wasn’t finished, as 46 seconds after the second goal, Colin Campbell drifted down the slot and fired a weak wrister that snuck past Peterson, setting off a chorus of boos from the crowd.
The large early deficit was eerily similar, almost as if time had rewound itself to two weeks ago when Wisconsin was throttled in back-to-back nights in Boston.
“Well, we were hoping for a different start. As a matter of fact, when it was the way it was, it felt like we were in Boston again because the goals they scored were like the ones in Boston, hitting people. First goal hit three people and went in. The second goal was tipped in as well. The third goal, I think [Peterson] would like to have back and get a second try at it,” head coach Mike Eaves said. “But it felt like, holy smokes, we still haven’t got the demons from Boston out of our system yet.
“It had its glimpses of [Boston],” Peterson said. “There were just unfortunate bounces from the point. That happens sometimes but it seems like it’s coming in pairs now. But you just got to forget about it. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t control it, so you just got to move forward.”
Unlike the weekend in Boston, Wisconsin didn’t waiver in the face of adversity Friday and battled for one of the more memorable comebacks of recent memory.
Getting his team back into the game late in the first period, senior forward Michael Mersch redirected junior defenseman Jake McCabe’s initial shot over the left shoulder of Lakers’ goaltender Kevin Kapalka with 3:39 left to cut the deficit to 3-1. Wisconsin essentially dominated play during the remainder of the game, but it wasn’t until the midway through the third period that the Badgers scored again. Senior forward Tyler Barnes cut the lead to one with 8:42 to play, and later netted the game-tying goal with 1:22 to play.
With an empty Wisconsin net and an extra attacker on, Wisconsin won the faceoff in the offensive zone. McCabe blasted a drive from the right point that was stifled by Kapalka. But Barnes dug for the rebound in the crease and lofted a wrister over the Lakers’ netminder to send the Kohl Center into a frenzy.
Neither team found the back of the net in the overtime session, but the tie was hardly a negative outcome for the Badgers, who outshot the Lakers 29-11 over the final two periods in a critical comeback.
“I’m pumped. This is exactly what we needed for our guys – this kind of type of game to get some sound feedback that, ‘Hey, we’re a pretty good team.’ We overcame some adversity. We earned a 3-3 tie. We pulled our goalie. We did it, so that’s a good thing for us. That’s what we leave with tonight,” Eaves said.