Sucker Punched

Playing a better 60 minutes than they did in last night's 3-1 win, the Badgers come up empty Saturday night, as an overtime deflection badly hurts their NCAA resume.

MADISON – It's been a long-standing tradition at the University of Wisconsin that, between the third and fourth quarter of a Badger football game, House of Pain's ‘Jump Around' is blasted over the public address, pumping up the students and the players at the same time.

So when the song debuted at the Kohl Center for the first time, causing a sellout-crowd of 15,237 to shake the foundation, the men's hockey team should have received that extra energy boost to propel them to an overtime victory.

But thanks to Minnesota Duluth, the Bulldogs turned the Kohl Center into their own personal house of pain for the Badgers.

Despite UW playing a better 60 minutes of hockey than the night before, according to coach Mike Eaves, it was Duluth (11-9-6, 7-8-5 WCHA) that got pumped up from the blaring music, walking away with a 2-1 overtime victory Saturday night.

"We're were talking about that after the game in the locker room how sweet it was that they played Jump Around and thirty seconds later we pop the game winner," UMD goalie Alex Stalock said. "It pumped us up pretty good. It was pretty funny."

"Maybe we should not play it again," added Eaves with a chuckle.

After winning the faceoff in overtime, the puck eventually made its way to Duluth defenseman Travis Gawryletz at the point. With the combination of firing it on net and bodies everywhere, UW goalie Shane Connelly never saw the puck, even after it changed directions after bouncing off forward Jordan Fulton, until it was in the back of net.

"I just got myself in a good position and then luckily the puck came right to my stick and I just made a good tip," Fulton said. "I actually didn't even see it go in. I just saw my teammates come after me, so I knew it went in."

"It's right where I told him to be," Bulldog coach Scott Sandelin joked. "I told someone to be there."

Joking aside, Sandelin quipped that the Bulldogs never would have been in that position if they had not weathered the storm through a poor second period and without their goalie – Alex Stalock.

After earning a four-star performance Friday night, Stalock earned his fifth star Saturday, stopping 31 shots, most of which were grade ‘A' Badger scoring chances, to keep Duluth in the game. Being out skated in the second by the Badgers and out shot 15-5, Stalock gave up his only goal of the night and stopping the other 14 shots that came his way.

"That's what a goaltender can do in this game. Goaltenders steal games," Eaves said. "He kept them around under they could get another goal. If we could score another one in the second period, we're done and we have smiles on our faces. But that is what a good goaltender can do for you."

After giving up seven goals and earning only one point in his first series Madison last season (a series that also marked his WCHA debut), Stalock's two Wisconsin series have been night and day. Another year older and more experienced, Stalock gave up only three goals on 61 shots (95 percent) he faced during the weekend split.

"Things are simplified," said Stalock about him and his teammates adapting to each other's different styles. "Our defense and I are more comfortable with each other and every game, more and more, they understand what I am trying to do."

Entering the game, Wisconsin (12-11-5, 8-9-3 WCHA) had come back in nine games this season in which they were trailing to earn points, including three times in the last four games.

Saturday night marked another one of those games the Badgers would be playing from behind.

For whatever reason, the Badgers power play has wreaked havoc with Wisconsin all season long. Not only has UW struggled with up a skater, converting just 17.6 percent of the time), the Badgers have given up seven short-handed goals.

With UMD assistant captain Andrew Carroll not quitting on the man down, Wisconsin was force to add another short-handed goal to the list.

With the Bulldogs whistled for a penalty two minutes into the game, defenseman Evan Oberg cleared the puck from the Duluth zone, forcing UW's Kyle Klubertanz to chase the rubber down. Unbeknownst to him, Klubertanz was not alone, as Carroll knocked Klubertanz into the boards and took control behind the net.

Carroll went straight to the net and managed to jam the puck underneath Connelly to open the scoring just three minutes into the game.

But after drawing a blank on their second chance, the third time was the charm for the Badgers, who connected for the right kind of power play goal to tie the score.

With time winding down, junior Ben Street quickly brought the puck up ice. Skating parallel to him, senior Matt Ford charged to the net. Receiving a perfect centering pass from Street and with Stalock a step behind, Ford scored his fourth goal of the season on a quick flick of the wrist.

But that's as much offense as the Badgers could muster Saturday night, as Stalock shut down the Badgers for the last 35 minutes.

"It's disappointing," assistant captain Ben Street said. "We had our chances and it never should have went into overtime. That's what happens in sudden death, that sort of thing can happen to you. There's nothing we can do about it now."

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