MADISON, Wis. — (UWBadgers.com) Despite taking an early 2-0 lead in the Big Ten season opener, a quick three-goal surge from No. 16 Minnesota in the second period was enough to doom the No. 20 Wisconsin men's hockey team Friday night at the Kohl Center.
The Badgers (4-5-0, 0-1-0-0 B1G) struck first after freshman forward Roman Ahcan slid a puck to an unmarked Brock Caufield who buried the one-timer to give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead in the opening period.
Sophomore blue-liner Wyatt Kalynuk extended UW's lead to 2-0 in the second period when senior Seamus Malone picked up a Minnesota (2-3-1, 1-0-0-0 B1G) turnover in the UW zone, then got the puck to Max ZImmer. The forward raced to the Gophers' goal line before slotting the puck to Kalynuk, who fired it past Gophers' goaltender Mat Robson.
Five minutes later, the Gophers scored three unanswered goals in 74 seconds to hand the Badgers a 3-2 loss.
Freshman goaltender Daniel Lebedeff made 24 saves.
Notes to Know:
• Freshman forward Brock Caufield scored his second collegiate goal. Rookie linemates Roman Ahcan and Dominick Mersch picked up assists on the tally.
• Kalynuk tallied his fifth goal of the season in the loss. The sophomore's five tallies now pace the Badgers' in goal-scoring.
Straight from the Rink
Head Coach Tony Granato
On the first goal:
"It was a penalty for cross checking. Their player ran into our goalie and didn't have enough time to get off of our goalie according to the referee. That was the explanation."
On young team learning from mistakes:
"Well, we have to. That's for sure. We played a pretty good hockey game. For a minute and 30 seconds there we got on our heels. They got a break because they took advantage of a penalty that we took, whether he tried to get out of the way of the goaltender or not, or whether he tried to get off the goaltender or not, it doesn't matter. They took advantage of it. That goal ended up in a power play and ends up in the back of our net. They used the momentum to their advantage and made the plays when they had to. Other than that, we played a really good game."
On bouncing back after the three goals:
"I think it took a little bit for us to get our energy back. I think we were stunned about what happened. I think the third period, we kept coming and we battled. I think we had three quality chances to score that we just didn't finish on."
On taking fewer power plays:
"I think we played physical and we played hard. Three penalties against us is manageable. I think that was a better job by our team for sure."
Freshman forward Roman Ahcan
On his line having good shifts/play tonight:
"It's nothing different, we've been doing the same thing since day one, hard-nosed, working together and supporting each other and getting the pucks to the net."
Junior forward Max Zimmer
On learning from tonight:
"Yeah, we played pretty well almost the entire game, and just during that 3-4-5 minute stretch there where we didn't play the game that we wanted to play and they ended up putting three goals in the net. So, it's gonna be about playing a full 60 minutes instead of taking a couple off here and there."
Freshman goaltender Daniel Lebedeff
On the Gophers' first goal:
"I was just getting ready for the shot and then I felt like someone just swept my legs out and I fell and lost track of the puck and they shot it in. I felt like the guy was under me and then on top of me and then they scored and I thought it was a goalie interference, but I can't do anything about it. It's the refs choice and the ref chose otherwise."
The Badgers take on the Gophers in the series finale tomorrow night at the Kohl Center. Puck drops at 7 p.m. (CT).