For Adam Burish, the stage could not have been more perfect.
"It is unbelievable to score my first goal at the Kohl Center shorthanded against Minnesota," Burish said. "I grew up going to the Minnesota games, they are always big games. To get my first goal against the Gophers short-handed to win the game is really special...I saw the red light go on and I just started yelling."
Burish's short-handed goal with just more than six minutes left in the game Saturday put the exclamation point on a wild come-from behind weekend. Friday night the Badgers climbed back from two separate two-goal deficits to earn a tie. Saturday, Wisconsin (3-2-1 WCHA, 6-3-1 overall) fought back from two more two-goal deficits, scoring three unanswered goals for a 4-3 victory.
Despite giving up the two-goal leads, Minnesota (1-6-1, 2-7-1) had an edge at the 12:29 mark in the third period when a tripping call on Wisconsin forward Rene Bourque gave the Gophers the man advantage with the score knotted 3-3.
Minnesota nearly claimed the lead midway through the power play when a centering pass skirted through the far circle to sophomore center Gino Guyer, who fired a shot labeled for the nearside. Wisconsin goaltender Bernd Bruckler, however, lunged across the crease, fully extending his pad to cover the post and preserve the tie, setting up the short-handed heroics.
Just moments later, the Badgers successfully cleared the zone and freshman center Jake Dowell gained a stride on Gopher defenseman Chris Harrington through the neutral zone. Dowell skated down the side boards, fending off a Harrington hook as he went, before finding Burish cruising through the slot unbeknownst to Gopher forward Tyler Hirsch, who was set up defensively above the crease. Dowell feathered a perfect pass to Burish, who quickly snapped a shot into the net before Hirsch or Minnesota goaltender Kellen Briggs could recover.
"I was just going to try to get in and get a shot....I just saw him out of the corner of my eye and tried to get pass in to (Burish) before I got in too close," Dowell said.
Wisconsin fell behind 2-0 in the first period after Thomas Vanek notched his seventh and eighth goals of the season. Vanek had four goals for the series, the first two coming in the second period of Friday night's contest.
Dowell closed the gap to 2-1 midway through the first period Saturday, but just as they did Friday night, the Gophers answered to take a 3-1 lead in the second period.
Friday night, the Badgers used two early third period goals to come away with a 3-3 tie; Saturday sophomore defenseman Tom Sawatske and Bourque scored just 2:02 apart, the second coming at the 9:17 mark in the second session.
Saturday night, though, Wisconsin found a way win, extending its unbeaten streak to six games.
"I think in the rest of the league all of a sudden we have more credibility, which is something you try to do with a young team," Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said. "It keeps the momentum going. We have this uphill spiral still going... we are looking forward to next week, getting ready to play (Colorado College)."
Score by period
Shots on goal by period
MN 1: Thomas Vanek (7) from Garrett Smaagaard (6) at 4:06.
MN 2: Vanek (8) from Matt Koalska (6) and Mike Vannelli (1), PP, at 10:41.
UW 1: Jake Dowell (2) from Jeff Likens (5) at 11:04.
MN 3: Barry Tallackson (2) from Jon Waibel (4) and Koalska (7) at 5:28.
UW 2: Tom Sawatske (2) from Rene Bourque (8), PP, at 7:15.
UW 3: Bourque (3) from Dan Boeser (5) and Andrew Joudrey (5) at 9:17.
UW 4: Adam Burish (2) from Dowell (6), SH, at 13:59.
MN: Kellen Briggs (58:54) 25
UW: Bernd Bruckler (60:00) 39