MADISON - After a furious comeback in the final eight minutes of regulation that saw the Badgers erase an 0-2 deficit, the Northern Michigan Wildcats scored with just 3.7 seconds left in extra time to steal a 3-2 victory at the Kohl Center Friday.
“It played out as one might think it played out,” head coach Mike Eaves said. “There were some darn good things and there were things we need to work on. That’s about what one would expect.”
Neither team encountered many scoring opportunities in the first period with the Badgers taking 10 shots on goal and the Wildcats just three. Northern Michigan gave Wisconsin three power-play opportunities in the period, with the Badgers also committing two penalties, but the game remained tied at 0-0 after the first 20 minutes.
Northern Michigan came out ready in the second period though, putting the puck in the net just 51 seconds in. The goal by junior Kory Kaunisto put the Wildcats up, 1-0 -- a score that stood until NMU senior Justin Florek extended the lead to 2-0 with just under two minutes remaining in the period.
In the second, Northern Michigan added three more penalties, but the Badgers still failed to score on the power play.
The score remained tied 2-0 for the first 12 minutes of the third period until sophomore Joe Faust finally broke through to put the Badgers on the board. Faust took a shot from the point, with a deflection putting the puck in the net.
Originally awarded to freshman Joseph LaBate, officials later ruled the shot was deflected off an NMU defender, giving the goal to Faust. Freshmen Matt Paape and Labate collected their first collegiate points with the assists.
LaBate would have to wait just another six minutes though to score his actual first career goal. With 1:57 left in the game, and the Badgers on their 10th power play of the night, the Eagan, Minn., native snuck the puck in to tie the score.
With junior Derek Lee and sophomore Frankie Simonelli on the assists, Wisconsin took all the momentum. Strong defense held the score tied at 2-2 for the remainder of regulation, pushing the contest into extra time.
The Badgers almost exclusively owned the entire five bonus minutes, but a late chance by Northern Michigan was all it needed to claim victory. With its only quality attempt of the extra period, and with just 3.7 seconds left, they made that one shot on goal count as sophomore Reed Seckel knocked the puck off UW frosh goaltender Landon Peterson on a wrap-around attempt. The goal gave NMU a 3-2 overtime victory.
Eaves remained positive though about the team’s late comeback.
“That’s the thing we talked about after the game,” Eaves said. “The thing we want them to leave the rink with tonight is the idea that we came we didn’t quit we persevered.”
Junior captain John Ramage agreed.
“It showed that were capable of coming back and we have a never quit attitude, there are positives to take from this game and I think coming back from 2-0 in the third period is a positive,” Ramage said.
Wisconsin ended the game with a 29-19 shot advantage over Northern Michigan, but the team was clearly frustrated by its lack of ability to convert on the power play. The Badgers ended the night just 1-10 with the man advantage.
In his first collegiate start, freshman Landon Peterson recorded 16 saves, including four in extra time.
“I thought he was very solid,” Eaves said. “He gave us a chance to win the game. He was square with the puck all night and did a nice job he gave a chance to win the game or get a tie.”