OT Struggles Continue, but UW gets needed tie

GRAND FORKS, N.D.- The No. 11 Wisconsin men's hockey team (10-5-2, 7-4-2 WCHA) skated to a 3-3 tie with the No. 3 North Dakota Fighting Sioux (9-5-3, 6-5-2 WCHA) Friday night. The Badgers saw a goal and an assist from both senior tri-captain Blake Geoffrion and freshman forward Craig Smith on the night, but blew a pair of two-goal leads.

In a crucial WCHA showdown, UW notched the game's first goal nine minutes into the first period. Freshman forward Craig Smith scored his third goal as a Badger after a nice pass from senior tri-captain Geoffrion . The two worked the puck into the Fighting Sioux defense, and a nice give-and-go allowed Smith to break behind the defenders and put the Badgers up, 1-0. Freshman defenseman John Ramage (St. Louis) contributed his fifth assist of the season as well on the play.

With just 16.8 seconds remaining in the first, Smith returned the favor. He handled the puck along the boards and eventually found Geoffrion in the very high slot. Geoffrion's one-time shot fired past the UND goaltender Brad Eidsness and into the glove-side corner to give Geoffrion his 13th goal of the year and the Badgers a 2-0 lead heading into the second. Junior defenseman Cody Goloubef added the secondary assist on the score.

Not only did UW lead UND on the scoreboard, but the Badgers were relentless in their shots-on-goal production, outshooting North Dakota, 12-6, in the period.

North Dakota scored its first goal after junior Brad Malone scored less than two minutes into the second. The cross-slot pass forced the Badger defense out of position, and UND was able to creep within one.

However, senior forward Andy Bohmbach regained Wisconsin's two-goal lead at the 16:20 mark of the second. After stealing the puck from a UND forward, Bohmbach handled the puck and scorched a wrist shot from the outside hash marks that found its way past Eidsness to make it 3-1. Junior Ryan McDonagh and sophomore Matt Thurber got credit for the assists.

Sophomore Ben Blood brought UND back to within one at the 10:25 mark of the period on the North Dakota power play. On somewhat of a broken power play, a falling UND player found Blood in the high slot for the slapshot goal. That made it a 3-2 game.

UND tied the game after freshman Danny Kristo scored for the Fighting Sioux just past the halfway point of the final period. On the North Dakota power play, his wrist shot from straight on traveled through a crowd of defenders. The game was knotted at three with just under 10 minutes remaining.

And that would be it for scoring in the third. Tied at three, the Badgers and UND headed into overtime.

No more goals were scored in overtime, as UND outshot UW 3-0 in an extra period that included UND's eight power play of the contest. The game went on to end in a 3-3 tie.

The Badgers went 0-for-3 on the power play and killed six of eight UND power plays in the contest. Wisconsin was also outshot, 30-22 for the game, marking just the second time this year they were on the low end in shots on goal.

Badger junior goaltender Scott Gudmandson stopped 27 UND shots, including a couple of game-savers late in the third period as his record changed to 4-2-2 on the year. Still UW is 0-6-13 over its last 19 games dating back to the start of the 2007-08 season.

Freshman UND goaltender Aaron Dell stopped nine Badger shots in relief, changing his record to 1-1-1 on the year.

Wisconsin and North Dakota square off again tomorrow night at 7 p.m. as UW hopes to top UND and head into their holiday vacation on a high note.

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