Though the Wisconsin men's hockey team would prefer to establish an early lead and ride it to a comfortable victory, they are quickly learning that should the former not happen, the latter is still well attainable. For the second Friday in a row, the Badgers rallied to claim a win, defeating the Michigan Tech Huskies 7-3 in their Western Collegiate Hockey Association opener.
A run of four unanswered goals in the second period clinched the victory for the home team, who for the second time in three games found themselves down 2-0 by the first intermission.
"We've been in that position before," Badger defenseman Tom Gilbert said. "There wasn't a lot of panic because we know we have offensive power."
Nick Licari, Robbie Earl and Kyle Klubertanz each picked up three points on the night (one goal, two assists each) and were integral in the Badger offense's consistent harassment of Michigan Tech netminder Cam Ellsworth, who faced 42 shots and surrendered seven goals. Wisconsin's defense again proved up to the task in only allowing 20 shots against goalie Bernd Bruckler.
It did not take the Badgers (3-0-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) long into the second session to erase their two-goal deficit. Licari put the hosts on the board 12 seconds in and freshman defenseman Klubertanz equalized a little over a minute later with a power play goal.
"We started out the game pretty well but they scored on the chances
They had," Licari said. "I think it was important for us to start the second strong."
Wisconsin continued their offensive onslaught with a score by A.J. Degenhardt at 13:16, giving the Badgers their first lead of the night.
Adam Burish would cap off the dominant run by answering Michigan Tech's earlier shorthanded goal with one of his own, drilling a wrister past Ellsworth.
"The start to the second period was probably the turning point of the game," UW head coach Mike Eaves said. "Right away we score… and then
it's a 4-2 lead. Then they get that late goal and they're thinking,
'Maybe we're in it.' But then the third period proved to be one of our better periods."
The only solace for the Huskies (0-3-0, 0-3-0 WCHA) in the second period came 38 seconds from the buzzer, when Lars Helminen's shot from the blue line found the back of the net, trimming the home team's lead to 4-3 and giving his team a comeback chance heading into the final period.
In the third, rookie Joe Pavelski solidified the Badger lead by putting in his second goal of the season at 5:58, while Robbie Earl all but ended any hopes the visitors had of a rally with a well-aimed strike at
Jake Dowell added his fourth goal of the season, three minutes from time.
Michigan Tech utilized the power play to take the first lead of the game at 9:23 in the first period. Freshman Jordan Foote collected his first collegiate goal after teammate Colin Murphy's shot pinballed through the defense, bouncing off a pair of sticks, including Foote's and ended up in the back of the net.
Brandon Schwartz gave the Huskies some temporary insurance by putting in a shorthanded goal three minutes later.
Wisconsin recovers, pummels Huskies
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