MADISON, Wis. — A third period rally came up just short for the Wisconsin men’s hockey team (2-2-0, 0-0-0-0 Big Ten) as they dropped the second game of the weekend series 8-5 against Boston College (2-2-0, 0-0-0-0 Hockey East).
UW went down 6-2 in the second period, but rallied to pull within one at 6-5. However, two empty-net goals sealed the game for BC and hand the Badgers their first home loss of the year.
“I thought there were great parts of that game tonight, and we did some really good things, especially in the third period when we fell behind,” head coach Tony Granato said. “We were down 6-2 and we come back and we make it a game. You feel a little bit good about yourself. But you also look at it and you realize when you play an elite team, or really if you play anybody, if you don’t play 60 minutes, you put yourself in a position either where you’re chasing or you don’t have success.”
Alternate captain Cameron Hughes got the comeback started before the second period ended with a nifty between-the-legs goal at 17:06. The tally marked Hughes’ first goal of the year and closed the gap to 6-3.
“It’s kind of just a lucky goal. Besse made a great play getting back, that’s one of the things we worked on was reloading and he kind of starts that whole play,” Hughes said. “You just get in front and it kind of just clicks. I don’t know, it was kind of lucky.
Five minutes into the third period, Ryan Wagner scored his second goal of the weekend as he was sliding on his knees to make it a 6-4 game. Grant Besse then made it 6-5 when he slipped a shot under the BC goalie to pull the Badgers within one with just under 10 minutes to play.
The comeback effort would fall just short, however, as BC added two empty-net goals to seal the 8-5 victory.
Wisconsin’s penalty kill was strong once again in the contest as it killed off all six opportunities they faced with a man down. The Badgers did not allow a power-play goal in the series and are now 21-for-23 on the penalty kill, good for a 91 percent efficiency.
“The penalty killers did an outstanding job. Again we blocked shots, you saw Cameron’s there. I wish we would’ve been a little bit sharper on the power play because there were a couple of key situations that could’ve changed the momentum of the game,” Granato said.
Boston College scored to open the game just 10 seconds into the first period and would later add a second to make it 2-0 with eight minutes to go in the opening frame.
Trent Frederic, who scored four points on the night, netted his second goal of the year on the power play with 27 seconds remaining in the first period to cut the BC lead down to 2-1 heading into the intermission.
Early in the second period, freshman defenseman JD Greenway scored his first goal as a Badger on a 3-on-1 to tie the game at two goals apiece. Trent Frederic and Dan Labosky assisted on the play.
“I knew (Trent Frederic) had two options, either pass it or get the shot off,” Greenway said. “So with Dan (Labosky) staying high a little bit I knew I had to go crash the net. Ultimately he gave it to me and it worked out.”
The Eagles would go on to rattle off four goals in seven minutes to give themselves a 6-2 lead with five minutes to go in the second period. Freshman goalie Jack Berry made his first appearance as a Badger as he replaced Matt Jurusik following the sixth goal. Berry did not allow a goal in his 23 minutes of playing time.
The Badgers will remain at home next weekend for an exhibition game against the USA National U-18 team on Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.