UW men’s hockey team nets extra point in sudden-death shootout at No. 14 Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — This tie felt like a victory for the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team.
It did for more reasons than just that Max Zimmer scored in a sudden-death shootout to give the Badgers the extra point in the Big Ten Conference standings after a 2-2 draw with No. 14 Michigan on Saturday.
It did, they said afterward, because they left Yost Ice Arena thinking they had played their best hockey of the season in earning a split of the two-game series.
“Man for man, our guys competed and did what we asked them to do for two straight games,” Badgers coach Tony Granato said. “It was a weekend we should be very proud of.”
The Badgers killed all seven Michigan power plays, making them 11-for-11 on the penalty kill in the two games. The last 45 seconds of that effort came in overtime.
But there could have been more to take from Saturday’s game for the Badgers, who opened up a 2-0 lead on goals by freshmen Ty Emberson and Jack Gorniak in the opening 30 minutes.
Nonetheless, the Badgers were celebrating their effort as they packed up for a charter flight back to Madison. They also lost a third-period lead on Friday in a 1-1 tie; Michigan won the extra point in a 3-on-3 overtime.
Making a start in goal that was a bit of a surprise to him, Daniel Lebedeff made 35 saves for the Badgers (5-7-2, 1-3-2-1 Big Ten). He missed the previous two games after a head injury, but Granato came to him after Friday’s contest to ask if he was ready to start the series finale.
The freshman’s play showed that he was despite a Jack Becker goal in the second period and a Luke Morgan breakaway score with 7:19 remaining in the third.
“It was a good game overall for me and for the team,” Lebedeff said. “We took some penalties, but every time, our boys battled and blocked a lot of shots. They made my game easy for me.”
The Badgers killed four Michigan power plays in the first period and scored on their only chance with the man advantage to take a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Emberson scored his first collegiate goal on a slap shot from the left side set up by K’Andre Miller. It was only the Badgers’ third power-play goal in their past eight games. They were 2-for-29 (6.9 percent) in their previous seven outings.
“We put a lot of work into the power play this week,” Emberson said of practice with associate head coach Mark Strobel. “So that was really nice for it to be able to pay off for Coach and put in some good work.”
UW’s penalty killers got called on for heavy duty in more than just the first period. Michigan (6-5-2, 2-2-2-1) got 12 shots on goal over 14 minutes of power-play time but Lebedeff turned them all away.
Granato said the team’s freshmen penalty killers are starting to put the pieces together after a shaky start.
“They’re becoming more comfortable with what the responsibilities are,” he said.
The Badgers outbattled Michigan players in front of the net to take a 2-0 lead in the second period. Gorniak pushed in his own rebound after Tarek Baker drove the net from the left side.
UW had two great chances to extend its advantage to three with the Wolverines scrambling minutes later, but defenseman Tyler Inamoto missed the net on both tries.
That cost the Badgers because at the other end on the same shift, a high-level passing play left Michigan’s Becker a tap-in from the slot to cut its deficit to 2-1. The goal stood after UW challenged, contending that the play was offside.
The Badgers killed a sixth penalty in the third period, but Michigan equalized shortly after. Out of his own zone, Luke Martin connected on a long pass up the middle to Morgan, who fired high past Lebedeff.
After the teams went scoreless through five minutes of 5-on-5 overtime and five minutes of 3-on-3, Zimmer scored the only goal of the shootout in the second round. His shot snuck through the pads of Wolverines goalie Hayden Lavigne (40 saves).
Lebedeff denied Will Lockwood and Quinn Hughes in the shootout.
“I think I handled it pretty well,” Lebedeff said. “I was just calm and trusted my senses.”
Wisconsin 1 1 0 0 — 2
Michigan 0 1 1 0 — 2
First period: W — Emberson 1 (Miller, Malone), 5:18 (pp). Penalties: Hughes, M, 4:21; Malone, W, 7:10; Miller, W, 10:13; Freytag, W, 15:42; N. Pastujov, M, 17:56; Baker, W, 17:56; Malone, W, 17:56.
Second period: W — Gorniak 2 (Baker, Tischke), 9:29. M — Becker 2 (Norris, Hughes), 13:14. Penalties: Mersch, W, 1:49; Boka, M, 5:18; Moyle, M, 9:56; Hughes, M, 18:44.
Third period: M — Morgan 1 (Martin), 12:41. Penalties: Gorniak, W, 9:28; S. Dhooghe, W, 18:45.
Overtime penalty: Boka, M, 3:40.
Shootout: W 1 (Kalynuk NG, Zimmer G), M 0 (Lockwood NG, Hughes NG).
Saves: W (Lebedeff 13-5-17-0) 35; M (Lavigne 13-15-9-3) 40. Power plays: W 1-for-5; M 0-for-7. Att. — 5,206.