Streak breaking: Badgers finally win OT game

first_imgWisconsin never should have needed a hero. But when the moment came, Justin Schultz delivered and got a couple of monkeys off the men’s hockey team’s back in what head coach Mike Eaves called a “wacky” game.Schultz’s goal with eight seconds left in overtime gave UW a 6-5 win over Canisius, completing a sweep of the Golden Griffins. Maybe more importantly, it ended a colossal 26-game winless streak in overtime for the Badgers, who were 0-8-18 entering the night. The last time UW won an overtime game was March 17, 2007.“Both [assistant coach Bill Butters] Billy and [assistant coach Gary Shuchuk] Shuey brought that to my attention on the bench,” Eaves said with a laugh. “More than anything, it’s the win. It’s about getting that 14th win for us.”With the Badgers on the power play, Canisius seemed to have UW pinned in its own end with time running down. But Wisconsin got the puck up ice to Craig Smith, who passed to Jake Gardiner. Gardiner found Schultz on the backdoor with a pass and the sophomore needed just to get a stick on the puck to put it past Canisius goaltender Dan Morrison.“I knew right when [Gardiner] got it, I knew he would see me – he always does,” Schultz said of the play. “It was a perfect pass and I just had to put it in an open net.”The elation of the win overruled the fact Wisconsin at one point had a 3-0 lead. And later, a 4-3 lead.But after Patrick Johnson and Jordy Murray took penalties to give Canisius 38 seconds of five-on-three, the Golden Griffins made sure to capitalize, scoring on both penalties to take a 5-4 lead with just over five minutes to play.It took just 35 seconds for Wisconsin to respond, with Gardiner flipping the puck from the wing up and over to Smith in the slot, who got a stick on it to tie the game at 5-5.The game didn’t initially look like it would be so close. Canisius didn’t register its first shot on goal until 11:40 of the first period and UW outshot the Golden Griffins 10-3 in the period, dominating despite neither team scoring.But the floodgates opened in the second period, as UW built a 3-0 lead. In a span of four minutes in the second period, the Golden Griffins gave up three goals and two penalties.Craig Johnson started the scoring at 4:06 with a shot from the right circle that was tipped by a defenseman and went in past Morrison. UW would add another as Gardiner executed a great one-two pass with Derek Lee, and Gardiner finished with a shot from the inside edge of the left circle to make it 2-0 UW.Smith would skate in and around three defenders while firing a shot from the slot to give the Badgers a three-goal lead at 7:56.But five minutes later, a UW five-on-two rush would end in a blocked shot and a Canisius rush the other way. Badgers goaltender Brett Bennett faced two Golden Griffins, with Taylor Law making a nice move to the backhand to cut the lead to 3-1.Scott Jenks scored to draw Canisius to within 3-2 as the second period ended, and just 2:27 into the third Ryan Bohrer made it 3-3.“We talked about it in the locker room a little bit, we got up three and we might have just relaxed a little bit,” forward Keegan Meuer, who scored later for a temporary 4-3 lead, said. “Give credit to them, they did what they needed to do, they weren’t pretty goals, I think they were all deflections, but give credit to them.”It was a rough night for Bennett, who made his first start since November. Most of the goals scored on him were tips and redirections, leaving him with little he could do.“It was a tough night, definitely,” Bennett said. “Sometimes nights like that happen, pucks get deflected, that’s part of being a goaltender.”The sweep let Wisconsin roll up a seven-game winning streak as the Badgers finished their regular season non-conference play. Since being swept at home by Minnesota-Duluth, Wisconsin is 8-1-1 with three consecutive sweeps and is 14-7-3 on the season.UW looks to be on a roll and after two wins which Eaves characterized as showing mental toughness. He believes the Badgers can take away a lot as they head into the last 14 games of WCHA play.“You’ve heard us talk before about the fact that every game is a riddle and there’s no textbook answers,” he said. “Well the riddle of tonight was how to figure out how to win this game that was wild and wacky, and we figured out the riddle tonight.“And we can take that experience and put it in our hip pocket.”last_img

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