Not A Special Start

Wisconsin gives up two short-handed goals, goes 0-for-6 on the power play and lets No.1 Boston College tally two goals on the power play. All of those factors resulted in the Badgers squandering two leads and falling 5-4 in the season opener.

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - The Wisconsin men's hockey team opened its 2008-09 season this Friday with a 5-4 against the Boston College Eagles at a sold-out Conte Forum.

The reigning NCAA champions came out with power, challenging the Badgers from the first blow of the whistle, but senior goalkeeper Shane Connelly held his ground through the early Eagle offensive attack.

Barely three minutes into the game, UW settled down and sophomore Patrick Johnson propelled Wisconsin into a 1-0 lead off a rebound from freshman Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka, Minn). Fellow freshman defenseman Ryan Little (Fond du lac, Wis.) was credited with the second assist on the first goal of the game.

Boston College quickly responded with a goal three minutes later. With junior Blake Geoffrion off the ice on a slashing penalty, Brian Gibbons capitalized on the BC power play and redirected a puck from just outside the net for the tie.

The first period concluded in a 1-1 tie, but the Eagles attained the lead at 4:18 into the second. Matt Price scored the short-handed goal on a two-on-one breakaway with teammate Matt Lombardi.

Wisconsin responded with three quick shots at the net, but was not able to get the puck past BC's Josh Muse until freshman Jordy Murray slapped in a backhand from behind the net to even the score 2-2. Freshman Matt Thurber (Beaver Dam, Wis.) recorded his first assist as a Badger on the play.

Just three minutes later at 8:53 into the second period, freshman Eric Springer (Wrightstown, Wis.) put Wisconsin in the lead for the second time with a wrist shot from the middle point, with junior Aaron Bendickson (Thief River Falls, Minn.) and Murray for the assists.

After a long stretch of back-and-forth play, Brock Bradford tied the game for the Eagles on a power-play goal 6:52 left in the second. Connelly nearly made the save from across the crease, but Bradford's shot snuck by.

The Badgers finished the second period tied 3-3 with Boston College but regained the lead just 1:20 into the third period. Senior captain Ben Street notched first goal of this season off of a passing sequence from sophomore Cody Goloubef and freshman Derek Stepan.

In the representative tempo of this fast-paced game, the Eagles responded just over two minutes later with a second short-handed goal by Gibbons to even the scoreboard at 4-4.

After ten minutes of intense action, the Eagles obtained their second lead of the game off a backhand goal by Cam Atkinson. BC's fifth goal was scored with 6:30 left in the third period, leaving the Badgers a limited amount of time to respond. UW pulled Connelly from the goal near the end of the third, but the Badgers were not able to find the net a fifth time.

Game one revealed early strengths and weaknesses for Wisconsin. Connelly proved his prowness with 32 total saves against the No. 1 offense in the country, and the UW rookies played well at college caliber, notching nine total points against the Eagles.

UW continues its opening weekend on the road in Durham, N.H. where they will face off the New Hampshire Wildcats tonight at 6 p.m.


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