MADISON, Wis. — Trailing 3-1 late in the second period against one of college hockey’s top offensive teams, things looked bleak for Wisconsin.
However, the host Badgers found one of its most improbable production sources in defenseman Peter Tischke. The sophomore’s first goal in 40 collegiate games tied Omaha early in the third period and forced a 3-3 draw with the Mavericks Friday night at the Kohl Center.
“I felt like I had a lot of time on the play, and we did a great job of boxing out, so I was able to get my shot through,” Tischke said. “It took a while to get my first goal, so it felt really good to get it out the way.”
Tischke’s game tying goal came thanks to a faceoff win by Ryan Wagner combined with a great screen by Cameron Hughes. The two plays allowed the Hinsdale, Illinois native to make 40 his lucky number.
“Our forwards did a great job of getting to net on my goal, and on (Grant Besse’s) goal in the second,” Tischke said. “Our defense was able to get shots through and when we did we got a lot of second chance rebounds.”
On the Omaha side of the draw goaltender Evan Wenninger was clearly the story, stopping 47 of 50 Wisconsin shots as the Mavericks held on for a point.
“We’ll take the positive in that we are still undefeated on the road and Weninger was spectacular,” Blais said. “Evan was the difference in the game.”
Wisconsin coach Tony Granato concurred with Blais and felt like Weninger was the only thing standing between the Badgers and an elusive second point.
“I don’t know how many shot attempts we had at him, but (Omaha’s) goaltender was outstanding (tonight),” Granato said.
With four minutes left in the second period Besse sliced the Mavericks lead in half, as the Badgers’ top scorer redirected defenseman Jake Linhart point shot behind Weninger.
“Besse’s goal was great because when a goalie is playing that (well), you have to find ways to get some screens in front of him,” Granato said. “Besse is known for making plays, but he knew the importance of forcing some traffic.”
After Wagner opened the scoring seven minutes into the game, Omaha answered with three tallies of their own to post a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Mavericks top scorer Austin Ortega setup Omaha’s beautiful first goal, hitting Teemu Pulkkinen in stride with a pass as the freshman forward cut across the front of the net. All the Kirkkonummi, Finland native had to do was deposit the puck behind Badgers goaltender Jack Berry.
Less than two minutes later Tristan Keck added a go-ahead goal, and then late in the period Omaha established a two-goal margin. While shorthanded Fredrik Olofsson finished off a beautiful 2-on-1 feed from Justin Parizek by rifling a shot off the inside cross bar.
Though the game officially ended a tie, there was a shootout held in preparation for Wisconsin’s Big Ten Conference play. Luke Kunin and Seamus Malone each scored for the Badgers, while Olofsson and Ortega missed for Omaha (7-5-3).
“We’re happy with the tie, especially when our goaltender makes (nearly) 50 saves,” Blais said. “We’ve got to get better tomorrow with covering guys and putting the puck in the net.”
For Wisconsin (7-5-1), which peppered Weninger in the third period and in overtime, the feeling was that one point had slipped away.
“We’re a team that expects to win so anything less than that doesn’t sit well,” Badgers captain Luke Kunin said. “We had a lot of chances (tonight) and sooner or later those are going to start going in for us.”
Around the Big Ten
No. 7 Penn State 5, No. 20 Michigan 1
Seventh-ranked Penn State completed a home sweep of Michigan with a 5-1 win at Pegula Ice Arena. Five different Nitty Lions scored the rout, while goaltender Peyton Jones made 22 saves to notch his 11th win. No. 20 Michigan, who was outscored 11-2 in the Thursday/Friday series, got a lone goal from Cutler Martin, while Jack LaFontaine made 53 saves.
No. 11 Minnesota 5, No. 10 Ohio State 3
Leon Bristedt scored back-to-back goals in the first and second periods to power host Minnesota to a 5-3 win over Ohio State in both teams’ Big Ten opener at Mariucci Arena. Eric Schierhorn made 18 saves to earn his seventh win of the season for the 11th-ranked Golden Gophers. The 10th-ranked Buckeyes got goals from Kevin Miller, Miguel Fidler and David Gust, while goaltender Matt Tomkins suffered just his second loss of the season.