Looking to avoid what is known as the worst lead in hockey, the Badgers - aiming to make their first national final in five seasons - unleashed the power in a 13-shot, four-goal second period that proved the difference in an 8-1 whipping of RIT Thursday afternoon, staging a rematch of the 2006 National Championship with Boston College Saturday evening here at Ford Field.
Wisconsin's Jordy Murray gave the Badgers a bit of breathing room over the Tigers with a goal early in the second, but the momentum didn't stop there, as the majority of the second period turned into a special-teams clinic with Wisconsin's power play schooling the apparently frustrated players of RIT.
Up to that point, both teams had found themselves on either side of the man advantage but unable to finish. The first successful power play goal was somewhat anti-climactic, with most spectators and even some players unaware that Justin Schultz's shot went in, until a referee review determined the puck slipped past RIT goaltender, Jared DeMichiel (27 saves), before play was whistled dead.
"I was like right there," senior tri-captain Blake Geoffrion said of the reviewed goal. "The goalie, he wasn't sure. He was looking around for it. I thought it was in ... and we went from there."
This lackluster goal put Wisconsin up 4-0, but the Badgers weren't done yet. It wasn't until a five-minute major on RIT for hitting from behind, on top of a roughing call already being served by the Tigers, that Wisconsin really turned on the firepower during the 5-on-3. With a picture perfect tic-tac-toe play from Geoffrion and Brendan Smith, senior Michael Davies went backdoor on DeMichiel's left side to increase Wisconsin's lead to five.
The Tigers were never able to recover from the major penalty and were back down in a 5-on-3 just over two minutes later. The Badgers, full of confidence and poise, set up another solid power play attack that lead to a shot from Geoffrion off a DeMichiel rebound. The Tigers were able to respond, although too little too late, with a power play goal of their own in the last minute of the second period, the only thing that went against Wisconsin in an one-sided 20 minutes.
A four-goal second period, dominated by the Badgers' special teams changed the face of a game that most thought would be fight to the finish. Consider that the calm before the storm, as Boston College and its seven-goal outburst over Miami will require a similar consistent effort should UW want to win their seventh national championship in school history.