Bruckler, UW come up short

UW senior netminder's play dazzles, but Bruckler's Kohl Center finale does not have a fairy tale ending

MADISON – Bernd Bruckler deserved better Saturday night. Wisconsin's senior netminder played another sparking game, but his two goals allowed were one more than what his counterpart on this night, Colorado College netminder Curtis McElhinney, allowed at the other end of the ice.

Bruckler finished with 29 saves Saturday, one night after stoning 39 Tiger shots in a 5-1 Wisconsin victory.

Throughout Colorado College's 2-1 win here Saturday, Bruckler was in good position. He made outstanding saves on perimeter slap shots and he cleaned up messes in front of the crease. When the final seconds ticked off the clock, however, one of the most decorated goaltenders in Wisconsin history had suffered defeat in his final game at the Kohl Center.

"I will walk out of here with my head up but I'm really disappointed right now," Bruckler said. "There's a lot going through my head, obviously, it being my last game. A lot of emotion. I wish it would have been a different outcome."

There is no shame in the goals Bruckler allowed. With just over a minute left in the first period, Tiger center Trevor Frischmon took a pass from winger Braydon Cox, skated through the circle to the left of Bruckler and fired a backhand against the grain that beat Bruckler blocker-side over his right shoulder.

"You talk to any goaltender and they'll tell you the backhand shot is the toughest shot to stop because you can't tell where it's going," UW coach Mike Eaves said.

CC's second goal, the eventual game winner, came on a power-play one-timer from above the circle 4:05 into the second period. Defenseman Brady Greco's shot also darted to the far side to beat Bruckler.

Bruckler was fantastic on many occasions throughout the weekend, on his way to 68 combined saves. Particularly impressive was a glove save on Greco's one-time blast from the above the circle midway through the first period Saturday.

That save sent the sold out (15,237) Kohl Center crowd into a frenzy, though it was a few pitches quieter than the raucous ovation Bruckler received when he was announced for senior day minutes before the opening faceoff.

Nevertheless, the game ended on a somber note for Bruckler, fellow seniors Pete Talafous, Luke Kohtala and John Funk and the entire UW team.

"That locker room is pretty quiet," Eaves said. "Pete Talafous had a towel over his head and guys are slumped in their stalls. That one hurts because they recognize the significance for the seniors in the room, last game at the Kohl Center. Sometimes it doesn't work out."


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