Minnesota Duluth remained unbeaten at home this season, while Wisconsin stretched its overall unbeaten streak to four.
Thatâ€™s what a 3-3 overtime tie did for each Friday night in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association menâ€™s game before 4,534 fans at the DECC.
Twenty-eight shots apiece; one power-play goal per team.
â€œYouâ€™ll take a point in the league any time, but we wanted more,â€ said UMD senior winger Andrew Carroll, who set up Justin Fontaineâ€™s tying goal with 4:46 left in regulation. â€œWe had a lead after two periods and good teams hold leads.
â€œThe most important thing is that when [Wisconsin] took the lead in the third period, we fired right back against a good defensive team.â€
UMD (4-3-3 and 1-3-2 in the WCHA) was up 2-1 through 40 minutes before Wisconsin (3-6-2 and 3-4-2) rallied with consecutive Blake Geoffrion goals, the second coming on a power play with 5:39 to go in the third period.
At the end of the next shift, UMDâ€™s Jack Connolly got the puck into the offensive zone and Carroll knocked a shot off the knee pad of Wisconsin goalie Shane Connelly. Winger Fontaine got a stick on the rebound for his team-leading sixth goal of the season. The Bulldogs had replied in 54 seconds.
â€œWe showed some character with that goal, but we were still too up-and-down,â€ said UMD defenseman Evan Oberg, who had a second-period goal. â€œOur forecheck was going in the second period and we got 11 shots on goal, and our special teams were better. But thatâ€™s a game we think we shouldâ€™ve won.â€Â”
Connelly, who had to survive two UMD breakaways, and Bulldog Alex Stalock each had 25 saves. The outcome left Wisconsin 3-0-1 the past four games and UMD 2-0-1 at home. The Bulldogs are 3-1-9 the last 13 overtime games.
Wisconsin led 1-0 after one period on a Patrick Johnson goal and UMD countered with the only goals of the second period a forceful drive from freshman Mike Connolly from the left circle to the upper far side and Obergâ€™s 5-on-3 attempt from the top of the right circle. Wisconsin hadnâ€™t allowed a goal for 102 minutes, 58 seconds over three games before Mike Connolly goal.
â€œThe second period, I donâ€™t know where we were, which is the sign of a young team,â€ said Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves. â€œWe lost battles for pucks inside our blue line and outside their blue line.â€Â”
Goal-scoring leader Geoffrion, a junior co-captain and grandson of Hockey Hall of Famer Bernie Geoffrion, put the Badgers back on track. His steal at 7:37 of the third period resulted in an unassisted score and then he somehow found a loose puck to Stalockâ€™s right for a power-play goal and a 3-2 lead. Geoffrion now has seven goals, including four in the last two games.
Wisconsin has had third period leads in five games this season, but none has produced a victory.
Fontaineâ€™s goal gave UMD more than in last weekendâ€™s series at Denver in 5-1 and 2-1 losses.
â€œThe game ended up probably the way it shouldâ€™ve,â€ said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. â€œThree goals and 28 shots. Wisconsin makes you earn your goals.â€Â”
Kevin Pates covers Minnesota-Duluth for the Duluth News-Tribune in Duluth, Minn.