Wisconsin senior center John Eichelberger scored his first two goals of the season and Notre Dame senior center Aaron Gill tallied two of his own as the Badgers (14-5-6, 8-3-5 WCHA) and the Fighting Irish (11-7-3, 8-6-2 CCHA) skated to a 2-2 tie Saturday night at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.
Wisconsin fell into a third-place tie in the WCHA Saturday, its non-conference tie with the Irish keeping it in a holding pattern. Conference-leading North Dakota now has 24 points after dispatching Michigan Tech 4-0, while Minnesota-Duluth leapfrogged the Badgers and St. Cloud State with a 4-1 win over Colorado College to move into second place with 22 points. The Huskies lost to Alaska Anchorage 6-3 Saturday and remain tied with Wisconsin at 21 points.
At the Kohl Center, Notre Dame and the Badgers played a solid defensive hockey game as no even strength goals were allowed for the entire match; all four goals scored in the game were power play tallies. Irish junior goaltender Morgan Cey had a great game with 36 saves in net, while Badger junior netminder Bernd Bruckler had 19 saves on the other end.
"I'm satisfied with the effort," Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said. "That's one thing we worked on. It didn't feel as good inside because we had such high expectations….we felt the chances were in our favor, but we just didn't put the puck in the net."
"We had a lot of chances and their goalie played good," said Wisconsin senior left winger Rene Bourque, who picked up two assists Saturday. "It was a battle. They're a tough team."
The scoring started six minutes into the game when Wisconsin took advantage of Notre Dame's first penalty of the night. Eichelberger found the puck sitting right in front of him off a rebound in the crease and he knocked it home for his first goal of the year.
The Irish answered back later in the first period, though, off of an obstruction-hooking penalty to Badger senior defenseman Andy Wozniewski. Gill knocked loose a Rob Globke slap shot from underneath Bruckler for Notre Dame's first goal of the game.
The scoring stayed even until the middle of the second period where Wisconsin made good on its third power play of the night. Eichelberger took advantage of another loose puck in the crease for his second goal of the night and sixth of his Badger career.
"The goals that (Eichelberger) scored were a goal-scorer's goals," Eaves said. "He was at the right place at the right time. You don't teach that."
"Every time you get some goals like that, it gives you a lot of confidence," Eichelberger said.
The Fighting Irish tied the game again in the third period off of yet another power play when Gill fired a shot high that hit Bruckler's right shoulder and trickled in behind him. As on the first Notre Dame goal, Globke tallied the assist.
The rest of the game saw two very evenly matched teams, though each failed to capitalize on stellar chances to break the tie. Wisconsin failed to score with one minute, 25 seconds of a 4-on-3 advantage and Eichelberger just missed a hat trick due to a great save by Cey on another loose puck near the crease.
"The puck was laying right there and I thought it was going in the net, but the goalie made a great save," Eichelberger said.
Notre Dame, meanwhile, missed a clear slapshot that deflected off the crossbar with five seconds left in the overtime period.
The Badgers and Fighting Irish will try to garner a win in the second game of the weekend series, Sunday night at the Kohl Center. The puck drops at 7:05 pm.
Score by period
Shots on goal by period
UW 1 - John Eichelberger (1) from Rene Bourque (14) and Jeff Likens (10), PPG, at 6:00
ND 1 - Aaron Gill (7) from Rob Globke (10) and Neil Komadoski (9), PPG, at 14:40
UW 2 - Eichelberger (2) from Bourque (15) and Dan Boeser (11), PPG, at 7:09
ND 2 - Gill (8) from Globke (11), PPG, at 1:23
ND - Morgan Cey (65:00), 36 saves, 2 goals allowed
UW - Bernd Bruckler (64:50), 19, 2