The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team showed resilience this weekend despite coming away with a tie and a loss against Omaha University.
Wisconsin (7-6-1, 0-0 Big Ten) fought back multiple times but couldn’t quite overcome Omaha (8-5-3, 3-3 NCHC) to capture a victory. UW held a lead in both games but was unable to retain either, conceding goals within three minutes of taking the lead in both situations.
The Badgers had a promising start to the weekend, scoring the first goal of the series seven minutes into the game Friday. After the quick goal by forward Ryan Wagner, the Badgers saw the Mavericks rattle off three unanswered goals, including one short-handed, to take a 3-1 lead in the first period.
“Coach came in there and said we need to relax, gain our confidence back and just go out there and do what we do best, and I think we did that,” Wagner said.
The Badgers responded with a goal in each of the next two periods to earn the tie. Senior Grant Besse brought the score within one with his deflection goal in the second while defenseman Peter Tischke’s first career goal tied the game up for the Badgers in the third period.
Wisconsin pestered the goal for throughout the third period and overtime but were unable to put in a game-winner, instead coming away with their first tie of the season. After overtime, the Badgers won the three-round shootout behind two saves from Jack Berry, though the game was still counted as a tie.
Despite showing similar resilience Saturday night, Wisconsin was unable to come away with a result, losing 7-4 after blowing a third period lead.
The Badgers outshot Omaha by double-digits in both games but were unable to take advantage in either game. Wisconsin’s +9.38 shots per game advantage over its opponents ranks third in the country.
After scoring first Friday, the Badgers conceded the first goal Saturday night just 55 seconds into the game. The Mavericks, who lead the nation in power-play efficiency, doubled their lead on a power-play goal in the second before Wisconsin responded.
The Badgers, who boast the seventh best power play efficiency rating, responded with a their own power play goal in the second from Grant Besse, which brought the Badgers within one.
Wisconsin drew level on a late deflection goal in the second period from captain Luke Kunin, his eighth of the season.
The third period saw seven goals between the two teams, along with two lead changes. Omaha claimed the first goal of the period just two minutes in, giving them a 3-2 lead. The Badgers responded with two goals themselves, a power play goal from Jason Ford and another goal from Kunin, giving them a 4-3 lead with under eight minutes to play.
Omaha responded by tying the game up 40 seconds later and added three more goals including an empty-netter before the end of the game to make the final 7-4.
Though it wasn’t the ideal end to the non-conference schedule for the Badgers, they enter conference play with some positive results behind them.
The Badgers are back on the ice next Friday in Ann Arbor for a two-game series against University of Michigan to open their conference schedule. Both Friday and Saturday’s games are set for 6:30 p.m. CT.