BY: Mike Becker
MADISON-Looking for their second sweep of the season, the Wisconsin Badgers were not able to maintain a late game lead, and lost a see-saw battle in overtime to the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, Saturday night at the Kohl Center.
After being shutout on Friday night, it took Notre Dame only 34 seconds to get on the board. Goalie Daniel Lebedeff could not corral a loose puck and the Fighting Irish were able to lift the puck over him and into the net for their first lead of the series. The Badgers were able to answer six minutes later when Dylan Holloway buried a one-timer on a cross ice feed from Linus junior Weissbach. Notre Dame did regain the lead just past the halfway point of the period, but Wisconsin was again able to answer. This time with Weissbach scoring the goal on an assist from junior Sean Dhooghe. At the end of a fast paced period the teams headed to the locker rooms tied 2-2.
The second period began with a much less frantic pace as both teams settled down and focused more on puck possession. The Fighting Irish took the lead for the third time of the night three and a half minutes into the period. That Notre Dame goal was the lone tally of the period and the Badgers headed into the locker room at intermission trailing 3-2.
Coach Tony Granato’s team came out in the third period with a sense of urgency. Captain Wyatt Kalnyuk tied the game just 31 seconds into the frame when he sent a wrist shot to the top shelf for his second goal of the season. Wisconsin was then able to take their first lead of the game with nine minutes remaining when freshman K’Andre Miller scored on the power play. Notre Dame answered, however, on a play very similar to their first goal. Lebedeff, again, was unable to locate and corral a loose puck and the Fighting Irish scored to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Early in the sudden death overtime frame freshman Cole Caufield found himself on a breakaway and was able to sneak the puck behind the Notre Dame goaltender. The puck worked its way towards the goal line tantalizingly slow and a Fighting Irish defenseman was able to sweep it away just inches before it could cross into the net. Notre Dame immediately found themselves on a fast break and scored the game winner 1:58 into overtime.
Wisconsin will hit the road and head to Minneapolis next weekend for a two game series against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The puck drops both Friday and Saturday nights at 7 P.M.