Colorado College, the No. 6 team in the nation, had built a reputation for strong play in the third period, outscoring their opponents 19-4 in the final session. Friday night at the Kohl Center, though, third period play was their opponent's forte as Wisconsin (3-2-2 WCHA, 6-3-2 overall) fought back for a 2-2 draw.
Despite a lackluster two periods and a 2-0 deficit, the Badger skaters entered the third with renewed vigor and quickly turned the tide of the contest. In a little over five minutes, Robbie Earl and Ryan MacMurchy combined to give Wisconsin two quick scores and tie the game at two goals apiece. Colorado College (3-1-1, 6-1-2) stymied the Badgers' efforts for a go-ahead goal, but were not able to mount a serious threat either.
"We're probably the best third period team in the league and they're probably the second best," Colorado College coach Scott Owens said. "So we knew it was coming, but we didn't think it was coming quite that strong."
In overtime, it did not seem like Colorado College was playing to win, but playing not to lose. The Badgers dominated the extra session with myriad scoring opportunities and an energy that the defending WCHA champions had no answer for.
"It went from being disappointed that we didn't win the game … to being relieved that we got a point," Owens said.
Just more than a minute into overtime, Badger forward A.J. Degenhardt had a breakaway on Tiger goalkeeper Matt Zaba. The freshman netminder, though, denied the score, helping send two teams with early season aspirations for a conference crown to their respective locker rooms with a point each in the WCHA standings.
"We can't keep bucking the odds and getting behind 2-0 and expect to get points," Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said. "That's a rare thing we've done the last three games."
Zaba, in only his third game in a Colorado College sweater, turned in a respectable performance, but could not quite fill the skates of All-American Curtis McElhinney, who is out indefinitely with mononucleosis. On the other end of the ice UW netminder Bernd Bruckler put up another strong performance and held the stingy Tiger offense in check down the stretch.
After an uneventful first period, Colorado College took control of the game with two second period goals. Defenseman Mark Stuart snuck into the point and collected an erratic pass for the first score, while Aaron Slattengren extended the Tiger lead to two after putting in a rebound with 2:22 left in the second.
With the win the Badgers extend their non-losing steak to seven, tops it the nation.
Score by period
Shots on goal by period
CC 1: Mark Stuart (2) from Aaron Slattengren (4) and Scott Thauwald (3) at 4:39.
CC 2: Slattengren (5) from Brayden Cox (4) and Scott Polaski (3) at 17:38.
UW 1: Robbie Earl (5) from Ryan Suter (5) at 3:12
UW 2: Ryan MacMurchy (7) from Andrew Joudrey (5) at 5:03
Colorado College: Matt Zaba (65:00) 23
Wisconsin: Bernd Bruckler (65:00) 20