Wisconsin was hoping for something more heading into its toughest stretch of the season, but offensive struggles stood in the way.
Notre Dame senior wing Rob Globke netted two goals Sunday night as the Irish upset No. 4 Wisconsin 3-1. The Badgers, who tied Notre Dame 2-2 Saturday, fell to 1-2-1 in the four games since coach Mike Eaves returned from leading the U.S. to a gold medal in the World Junior Championships.
Globke, who scored the eventual game-winner with less than four minutes to play in the second period, iced it with an empty net goal with 8.1 seconds remaining in the game. Globke also assisted each of senior center Aaron Gill's goals Saturday to finish with a four-point weekend.
Wisconsin (14-6-6 overall, 8-3-5 WCHA) nearly tied Sunday's game late in the third period, but sophomore wing Adam Burish's breakaway opportunity hit the post low to the left of Irish freshman netminder David Brown, who had 30 saves.
"Early this year, we were getting timely goals and were getting ‘W's," Eaves said. "We gave up four goals without the empty netter this weekend…we are just in a little bit of an offensive slump and the puck won't go in the net."
For Notre Dame (12-7-3 overall, 8-6-2 CCHA), Brown and junior Morgan Cey, who had 36 saves Saturday, were solid in net. The Badgers outshot Notre Dame 69-40, but struggled to put opportunities away.
"We outworked that team both games…we just didn't score for whatever reason," UW senior defenseman Dan Boeser said. "That's a lot of rubber to be throwing at the goalie and to only get a few goals out of that is pretty unlikely."
The Badgers were 0-for-6 on the power play Sunday, and are 2-for-17 in their last three games.
"We are in a little bit of a slump offensively, there is no question, and the power play is a part of that," Eaves said. "You go through those things."
The Badgers entered the weekend atop the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, but while they toiled with the non-conference series, North Dakota swept Michigan Tech to move into first with 24 points, Minnesota-Duluth jumped to second (22) after sweeping Colorado College, and St. Cloud State drew even with Wisconsin in third place (21) after splitting with Alaska-Anchorage.
Wisconsin's next four opponents—Colorado College, Minnesota, North Dakota and St. Cloud State—were all ranked in the top 11 prior to this weekend.
"We look forward to that challenge and we look forward to coming back to practice next week and trying to turn things around," Eaves said.
"If we keep our heads high and get back to work this week in practice we're going to be successful," Boeser said.
Wisconsin dominated the first period Sunday, outshooting Notre Dame 13-2, but carried only a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Badgers continued to benefit from a line change enacted prior to the series, moving senior center John Eichelberger between leading scorers Rene Bourque and Ryan MacMurchy. Saturday, Eichelberger notched his first two goals of the season with primary assists from Bourque.
Sunday, Bourque opened the game's scoring four minutes, 19 seconds into the contest, taking a feed from Eichelberger as he cut to the low slot and putting a backhand shot past Brown.
Wisconsin continued to dominate defensively, but could not build upon the early one-goal lead. While Brown was being peppered with shots, Badger goaltender Brian Elliott was gathering dust on the opposite end of the rink.
At the 6:22 mark in the second period, Notre Dame took its first shot of the session, and only its third of the game and made it count, as sophomore wing Mike Walsh fired a wrist shot over Elliott's glove and into the net to tie the game 1-1.
Minor penalties to Ryan Suter and Tom Gilbert gave Notre Dame 37 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage at the 15:01 mark in the second period. The Badgers were able weather that storm, but Suter picked up another minor after colliding with an Irish player as he skated from the penalty box to the Wisconsin bench.
"On that call, Ryan has a perfect right to get to the bench," Eaves said. "If Ryan falls down maybe (referee Marco Hunt) calls a penalty on them."
The call gave the Irish an additional minute and 14 seconds with a 5-on-3 power play and they took advantage just 20 seconds later when Globke put home a point-blank opportunity, giving Notre Dame a 2-1 edge.
Elliott, a freshman, suffered his first loss of the season in four starts. He tallied 12 saves before junior Bernd Bruckler relieved him for the third period.
Score by period
Shots on goal by period
UW 1 - Rene Bourque (8) from John Eichelberger (4) and Ryan MacMurchy (9) at 4:19.
ND 1 - Mike Walsh (9) from Tom Galvin (12) at 6:22.
ND 2 - Rob Globke (12) from Neil Komadoski (10) and Galvin (13) at 16:07.
ND 3 - Globke (13) from Brett Lebda (9), ENG, at 19:51
ND - David Brown (60:00) - 30 saves, 1 goal allowed
UW - Brian Elliott (40:00) - 12 saves, 2
UW - Bernd Bruckler (19:32) - 4, 0