WISCONSIN UPENDS NORTH DAKOTA, 5-3
Junior defenseman Justin Schultz posts goal and assist for Badgers
MADISON, Wis.-- A 1-3-0 start coming into Friday night was definitely not what this young Wisconsin men's hockey team was looking for. But a 5-3 victory over No. 5 North Dakota (2-2-0, 0-1-0 WCHA) Friday at the Kohl Center will certainly ease some of those growing pains.
Head coach Mike Eaves was cautious to overplay the win however.
"This early in the season, with this young of a team, I don't think it's a huge measuring stick," Eaves said. "I think it's a nice step, and there are a lot of good things I hope people are proud of."
Five different Badgers scored against UND while freshman goalie Landon Peterson (Oregon, Wis.) collected 24 save in his first career win.
"Overall, our team played really good," Peterson said. "Very good systematically. Overall, our defensive zone coverage was pretty good. I was really happy with them."
Sophomore Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) put the Badgers on the board first Friday night, scoring 8:45 into the first period off by finishing off a pretty passing play with sophomore Tyler Barnes (Eagan, Minn.) and freshman Joseph LaBate (Eagan, Minn.). The goal marked the first time this season that Wisconsin scored first in a game.
North Dakota didn't allow much time for celebration though as UND freshman Mark Macmillian scored to even the game just 27 seconds later.
The score remained 1-1 until Schultz collected his first goal of the season with just over a minute remaining in the first period. The five-on-three power-play goal on a one-time blast from the point marked the sixth point this season for Schultz. Eric Springer (Wrightstown, Wis.) and Zengerle assisted the goal--Zengerle's fourth of the year and Springer's fifth of his career.
A third North Dakota penalty late in the first period gave Wisconsin the man advantage to start the second period. And 1:16 into the second period, sophomore Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.) converted past UND goaltender Brad Eidsness for his second goal of the season to give the Badgers a 3-1 lead. Barnes and Schultz assisted.
Less than six minutes later, the Badgers extended their lead on what turned out to be the game-winning and goalie-chasing goal from junior Derek Lee (North Vancouver, British Columbia). The assist went to freshman Matt Paape (Appleton, Wis.).
North Dakota tightened the game however, scoring at the 6:29 mark of the second period and then three minutes later to narrow Wisconsin's lead to just one.
The Badgers picked up an insurance goal with seven minutes left in the period when freshman Brendan Woods (Fairfax, Va.) put together some of the best skill play of the night. Taking the puck at center ice, Woods stick-handled past a North Dakota defender before dropping the puck in past UND replacement goalie Aaron Dell for his first career score.
"He's such a big body and there's been little glimpses," Eaves said. "The boys were saying they'd have to get up early to see that play on ESPN."
The biggest save of the night belonged to UW's Peterson. With the Wisconsin up 5-3 and coming off a failed power-play attempt, Peterson found himself staring down UND's Danny Kristo and Corbin Knight alone down low. The Badger rookie kicked out his right pad to stop Knight after a pass from Kristo to preserve the two-goal margin.
"I just anticipated the pass," Peterson said. "Just knowing he was probably going to pass because it was a bad angle, so I was expecting it. I had it covered and it all came natural."
"All I know is it was as good a save as we've seen in this building in a while," Eaves said.
The final seven minutes of the second period and the entire third period went without another score as a tough Badger defense and a few more stellar saves from Peterson preserved Wisconsin's first WCHA win of the season.
"It was a big win for us," Springer said. "You know they're going to have a good team, and coming out and doing what we want to do is really key for us. It's a whole weekend and we need to take care of business tomorrow
North Dakota barely edged out Wisconsin on shots, 27-26. A few late game penalties gave the Sioux eight and the Badgers six for the night. On the power play, Wisconsin was 2-for-6, while North Dakota was 1-for-4.
The Badgers (2-3-0, 1-2-0 WCHA) go for the series sweep Saturday night at the Kohl Center. Game time is 7 p.m.
- Freshman Brendan Woods collected his first goal as a Badger
- Freshman goalie Landon Peterson picked up his first win at Wisconsin
- The win was the first for Wisconsin against UND at the Kohl Center since March 2