Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Denver sweeps UW with late comebacks

Championship-caliber teams find ways to come out on top. The Wisconsin men’s hockey team found that out the hard way this past weekend.

Facing No. 1 ranked Denver, Wisconsin saw a pair of 2-1 leads evaporate into thin air and watched as its bid for a first-round playoff series at home took a serious blow.

The Badgers (12-16-3, 10-11-3 WCHA), swept on home ice for the first time since November of 2000, played at the same level as the Pioneers but simply couldn’t find the nail to put in the coffin.

Friday night’s action saw UW take a 2-1 lead into the second period. Denver (26-5-1, 19-4-1 WCHA) responded by peppering goalie Bernd Bruckler with 37 shots in the final two periods, while the Badgers fired only 13. Four unanswered goals during the final two stanzas put Denver in the win column with a 5-2 score, keeping it ahead of St. Cloud State.

“The guys are pretty shaken up right now,” said a teary-eyed Matt Doman said following the game. “It’s frustrating knowing how good we could be.”

After Friday’s disappointing loss, the Badgers rebounded by game time Saturday.

Wisconsin definitely showed up and out-played Denver, taking an early 1-0 lead after Andy Wheeler and Brad Winchester found themselves on a 2-on-1 break. Wheeler flipped the puck off to his left just as Denver goalie Adam Berkhoel lunged, giving Winchester just enough room to sneak the puck around the pipe.

However, it took the Pioneers only three minutes to find the equalizer, knotting the game at one.

Sidelined by injury for the past three weeks, UW’s Scott Kabotoff made his first appearance since going down against SCSU and responded well, stopping 30 shots.

“Kabby did an excellent job coming off the injury,” said UW head coach Jeff Sauer.”[He] played big. [It’s] nice to see him back in the lineup.”

Halfway through the second period, UW’s Erik Jensen was whistled for a five-minute major and a game misconduct penalty for a check from behind, sending Jensen to an early shower.

Denver, with a five-minute power-play advantage, couldn’t find a goal. The Badgers fended off the arbitrary penalty nobly, as the Kohl Center crowd stood on its feet and cheered with every clearing of the UW zone, further tipping the momentum in favor of Wisconsin.

Only two weeks earlier, the third period of the UW/Alaska-Anchorage game brought controversy to Madison. History would soon repeat itself.

Wisconsin drew a Denver penalty two and a half minutes into the third, giving the Badgers their second chance of the night on the power play.

Matt Murray, amidst a cluster of UW and Denver players in front of the net, was able to get his stick on rubber and bang home the go-ahead goal just 15 seconds into the advantage, giving UW yet another 2-1 lead.

Denver countered with just under five minutes left. Lukas Dora found the puck after it caromed off of Kabotoff’s right leg, managing to flip it past Kabotoff, whose arm was a split second too late.

With less than 20 seconds remaining, Denver cleared its zone and sent the puck into UW territory. The referee disregarded the obvious icing call and play continued. With 11 seconds to go, Wheeler echoed Denver and cleared the UW zone, but this time it was whistled as icing, setting up a Denver face-off in the Wisconsin end.

“I just figured they weren’t blowing icings any more,” said Wheeler later.

On the ensuing face-off, Denver was able to snatch the puck and shoot, scoring the final goal with a mere remainder of 6.6 seconds. The goal, which looked as if it may have been deflected by the stick of Dan Boeser and made it 3-2, drew a plethora of shocked boos from the stands and enticed Sauer from the bench for an explanation.

“My issue was the icing. It should have been icing,” said Sauer. “The linesman made a mistake. We just looked at it on tape; there’s no question it’s icing. 11,000 people saw the same thing I did. I thought we deserved to win.”

With the promise of an apology coming from Commissioner Bruce McLeod later in the week, the damage has already been done. UW has been foiled once again by questionable calls from the linesmen, affecting not only the Badgers’ playoff picture but also the team’s state of mind heading into the final four games of the season.

“I’m not disappointed at all in the way my team played,” remarked Sauer. “I’m just disappointed when you have?I can’t say what I want to say.”

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