Boisterous Response

A night after a goal and a potential victory was taken from the Badgers, Wisconsin made sure the final outcome was decided long before the final whistle even came close to being blown.

DENVER—What a weird, weird weekend it was for the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team.

The final standings say it was just a series split with Denver, but the Badgers encountered the full range of emotions – mainly, the lowly, sinking feeling of having a game taken away from them.

But the weekend ended well for No. 17 UW, and might represent a turning point in this season.

After one of Wisconsin's most bizarre losses in recent memory, everything seemed to go the Badgers' way in a 7-2 thrashing of the No. 2 Pioneers for UW's first true road win of the season.

In fact, DU may have gotten a direct taste of its own medicine; an "eye for an eye", one could argue.

The Badgers should have sent Friday's game to overtime with a Matthew Ford goal, but a clearly erroneous ruling from referee Randy Schmidt – that time had expired – ended the game.

Late Friday night, Badger players watched YouTube clips of Ford's shot in horror, clips that proved beyond doubt that Schmidt had made a ghastly mistake.

"We probably watched it a dozen times last night," Ford said.

"It's hard to watch," added UW captain Davis Drewiske. "I feel like we've been playing pretty well lately, haven't gotten rewarded for it."

Unfortunately for Denver – and for college hockey, really – it wouldn't be a stretch to refer to UW's second goal of Saturday's contest as a "make-up call".

After Wisconsin (9-10-3, 5-8-1 WCHA) and Denver (17-5-0, 12-4-0) traded early goals, UW freshman forward Podge Turnbull took a shot from the right side, and the puck went through DU goaltender Peter Mannino's legs, striking the left post.

Mannino sprawled out, trying to cover up, but the puck clearly lay next to his side. Turnbull walked in and poked it past the goal line at the 13:44 mark of the first period, but Schmidt seemed to have blown the play dead.

After a lengthy review – which took much longer than Friday's review of Ford's shot – Schmidt upheld the goal, which sent the Magness crowd into a chorus of boos.

DU coach George Gwozdecky, amidst great pressure from reporters, admitted Schmidt's judgment on that call may have been compromised by what transpired Friday, but refused to blame the loss on that particular play.

"You know, there might have been a small, little factor in that," Gwozdecky said. "But I don't want to take anything away from Wisconsin. They were the better team tonight. I would be foolish to say … it was the officials."

Several Badgers talked about simply controlling what they could control, and that was Saturday night's effort.

"We had to say, you know what, we can go one of two roads," Ford said. "We can sit here and hang our heads, or we can use this kind of like fire, have it build up and use it to make a change for us."

UW, clearly fired up from Friday's stunning defeat, cruised after Turnbull's controversial goal.

DU rookie defenseman Chris Nutini turned the puck over in his own zone, and a couple of Badger freshmen made him pay. Kyle Turris took a pass from Patrick Johnson and easily scored with 4:46 left in the first period.

Senior center Ben Street nearly made it 4-1 after 20 minutes, hitting the crossbar 30 seconds before the break. But Street broke through 14:17 into the second stanza, walking through a lazy Denver defense and pumping home his ninth goal of the year.

Two minutes later, winger Michael Davies was the benefactor of a formidable bounce. The sophomore couldn't cleanly receive a crossing pass from senior defenseman Kyle Klubertanz, but sent the puck back from behind the net.

The puck bounced off Mannino's shoulder and into the net for Davies' fifth tally of the year. This ended Mannino's night, with 17 saves on 22 shots.

"He's a very fine goaltender," UW head coach Mike Eaves said. "To score five is what we needed. We'll take that any Friday or Saturday on him."

Kyle Ostrow tipped in a power play goal for Denver – though replays showed Ostrow's stick may have been above the crossbar – but it was too little, too late for the Pioneers. UW freshman defenseman Ryan McDonagh added his fourth goal of the season with seven minutes left off a pretty pass from freshman forward Sean Dolan.

Turris capped the scoring when a bad Denver pass allowed him a breakaway goal, his second of the game and ninth of the season.

"We were fired up as a team. We looked at that goal a few times, and it put a fire under our rear ends," Klubertanz said. "So we came out and just wanted to get it going."

A series marked with controversy boiled over for both teams with 34.5 seconds remaining in the second period. A heated scuffle ensued, with a couple of individual near-fights.

All five players on the ice for both teams were sent off – and since the battle came at the end of a delayed penalty, one DU player from the bench had to serve time as well – meaning a couple of cozy penalty boxes (six Pioneers and five Badgers).

Before the game, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association released a statement acknowledging that an error had officially been made Friday night, stating there should have been an overtime played.

But since it's unlikely any other amends will be made in regards to Friday's game, the Badgers will have to settle for a dominating win over the second-ranked team in the country.

"I mean, what are they going to do?" Drewiske said. "I don't think it's really possible for them to give us an overtime, or give us a tie or whatever. What's done is done, it sucks. It wasn't the right call.

"I'm just happy with the way we responded, that's just as good as anything for us," Drewiske added. "No better cure for what happened last night than the response we had tonight."

Game Notes: The teams combined for 50 penalty minutes (Wisconsin had 14 infractions for 28 minutes; Denver had 11 for 22), but there was just one power play goal on 11 overall opportunities … Craig Johnson played his fifth game this season on the Badger defense, in place of Brendan Smith … with 2:25 left, DU's Cody Brookwell thought he had a power play goal when the red light came on, but play continued as Schmidt thought Brookwell hit the post. The play was not reviewed, drawing more boos … Marc Cheverie played the last 22 minutes in goal for the Pioneers, making six saves and allowing McDonagh's and Turris' goals … the Badgers head northwest next weekend for a two-game set with Alaska-Anchorage.

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