MADISON, Wis. -- For the eighth time in its last 10 games, Wisconsin (11-9-7, 8-6-7 WCHA) found itself in a game decided by a goal or less, skating to a 2-2 overtime tie against Bemidji State (5-16-6, 4-12-5 WCHA) Friday night inside the Kohl Center.
With its seventh tie in WCHA play on the season--which tied a school record--the Badgers split a point in conference play with the Beavers. Entering the night in sixth place in conference standings and looking to secure home ice in the playoffs, head coach Mike Eaves and the Badgers were left looking for more points at the end of the night.
"It's an important game because we are scrambling to get as many points as we can," Eaves said. "Not getting two with the expectation that was our goal tonight, we came up short.
"Saying that, just looking at the charts, we attempted 66 shots to their 39, so we didn't give them very much."
The Badgers' offense was jumpstarted early, with a the power-play goal to take an early 1-0 lead. At the 11:55 mark of the first period, Nic Kerdiles (Irvine, Calif.) scored his fourth goal as a Badger and first of his career on the man advantage, converting a Brendan Woods (Yorba Linda, Calif.) rebound and scoring from the slot. Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Ill.) was also credited with an assist.
The second power-play goal in their last 12 contests, the Badgers bottled up their early momentum and carried it through the remainder of the period.
Joel Rumpel (Swift Current, Saskatchewan) helped keep the Beavers scoreless the rest of the period, going on to make scoring tough throughout the night for Bemidji State. Rumpel recorded 25 saves, but allowed a one goal in the second and third periods.
Phil Brewer was the first to get past Rumpel, putting the puck into the feet of the goaltender from below the goal line. Rumpel was indecisive in playing the puck and got caught out of position. The puck bounced around his feet and trickled over the line. The first of two unassisted goals for the Beavers tyied the game at 1-1 at the 10:49 mark of the second period.
Rumpel recovered shortly thereafter, making four big saves when the Badgers were forced to kill two minutes of BSU five-on-three power play. Woods and Simonelli were each called for penalties within seconds to give BSU the two-man advantage.
"(The thing) about Rumpel's mistake is he came right back and was unbelievable in the five-on-three (power play)," Eaves said. "He was our best penalty killer there."
Just under a minute left in the second period, Ryan Little (Fond du Lac, Wis.) scored on a deflection of a shot from Sean Little (Fond du Lac, Wis.) to regain the 2-1 Wisconsin lead. Also assisted by Jefferson Dahl (Eau Claire, Wis.), it was the fourth goal of the season and 13th career score for Ryan. The goal was originally credited to Sean Little.
Danny Mattson answered back by capitalizing off of a Wisconsin defensive turnover, slipping toward the net and positioning himself for a one-timer from the slot to tie the game back up at 2-2 at the 6:08 mark of the third period.
Outshooting the Beavers 40 to 27, the Badgers controlled things late, including a chance for Mark Zengerle from alone in the slot late in the third period. Despite outshooting the Beavers by a combined total of 19-to-8 over the third period and overtime, the Badgers were unable to grab a late lead and ended the game in a 2-2 tie.
Bemidji State goaltender Mathieu Dugas (1-6-2) tallied 38 saves on the night to earn the tie.
"We fired 16 shots on net (in the third period)." Eaves said. "The true magic is putting it in the net."
The Badgers celebrated the 30th anniversary of their 1983 NCAA championship team with a video and introductions during the first intermission of the game. One of hockey's all-time greats and a member of the 1983 team, Chris Chelios served as honorary captain and dropped the ceremonial first puck.
Wisconsin and Bemidji State return to the Kohl Center on Saturday night to finish off the weekend series, beginning with a 7 p.m. (CT) opening faceoff.
- Kerdiles scores first power-play goal as a Badger to give UW 1-0 lead in first period
- S. Little scores second goal of season and fourth of career
- Wisconsin's seventh WCHA tie of the season ties school record set in 2003-04 for conference ties