A Rocky Road

Senior goalie Scott Gudmandson played up to his capabilities but his supporting cast struggled to stay even keeled, as No.15 Wisconsin dropped its conference opener in Denver.

DENVER – The Wisconsin Badgers (3-2-0, 0-1-0) lost their WCHA opener on the road Friday night 4-2 to the Denver Pioneers (2-2-1, 1-0-0). Denver outshot the Badgers 34-28.

Denver scored the game's first goal early in the first period. The Badgers lost control of the puck behind their own net, and Drew Shore found Jason Zucker for his first goal of the season at 6:35 of the first period to give Denver a 1-0 lead.

Wisconsin answered back with a goal by Jordy Murray. Murray scooped up a bouncing puck from the back boards and slid in a backhand shot to the open side of the net. John Ramage and Mark Zengerle recorded assists on the major power-play goal. The goal, at 17:46 of the first period, was Murray's fifth of the season.

In the second period, Denver increased their lead to 2-1 with a power-play goal by Luke Salazar at 17:43 of the second period. Salazar deflected in a shot by David Makowski to give Denver the lead through two periods. The play was reviewed for a high stick, but confirmed a goal on the replay.

In the third period, UW would tie the game with a power-play goal by Craig Smith. Smith received a pass from Justin Schultz and took a slap shot from the blue line that hit the Denver goalie Sam Brittain in the mask and then trickled over the goal line to tie the score just 28 seconds into the third period.

Scott Gudmanson would next keep the Badgers in the game with a spectacular save. Denver got a breakaway while shorthanded and Gudmanson came up with a huge blocker save on Drew Shore. It marked Gudmanson's second short-handed breakaway save of the game.

However, Denver would take the lead on a resulting 4-on-4. John Lee sent a long pass down the ice that would find John Zucker for a breakaway. He put the puck past Gudmanson for a 3-2 lead at 6:43 of the third period.

Denver would increase their lead to 4-2 soon after at 9:44 of the third period. John Ryder took a shot from the blue line and Drew Shore tipped it in through traffic in the front of the net. That lead would stand up to give Denver the victory.

Wisconsin, who came into the game leading the nation in power-play goals, finished the game 2-for-8 on the power play, holding Denver to 1-for-8, which included three stints of five-on-three.

Scott Gudmanson took the loss, making 30 saves on 34, dropping his record to (1-2-0). Freshman Sam Brittain made 26 saves on 28 shots to record his first collegiate victory, improving his record to (1-1-1) on the season.

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