MADISON -- One player made his return to the ice on Friday night inside the Kohl Center, while another made his return to the scoring column, as Wisconsin (2-7-4, WCHA 2-5-4) scored late to force the 1-1 overtime tie against Michigan Tech (4-8-2, 3-6-2 WCHA).
Held without a goal in his last nine games, Tyler Barnes (Eagan, Minn.) stepped up and scored the game-tying, power-play goal in the final minutes of the third period.
His first goal since Oct. 26 against Minnesota Duluth, the junior forward was relieved to have finally found the net once again and come up for his team in a big spot.
"It had been a big weight on my shoulders," Barnes said of his scoring. "I'd be lying if [I said] it wasn't. But, I was getting the chances, so I couldn't be too frustrated with myself."
The Badgers no doubt will work to continue and get Barnes his chances. In the two games this season the junior forward has scored in, UW is 1-0-1, after his first goal of the season helped the Badgers earn the first of their two wins.
Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) was encouraged to finally be able to make his return to the ice and play with his teammates, after the junior forward spent more than a month recovering from a hand injury.
"I think I started picking it up late in the second and as the third went on and in overtime," Zengerle said. "I felt pretty good."
Zengerle played a role in Mersch's power-play score, a spot where the junior's presence was sorely missed, as UW was a combined 1-for-22 on its power-play opportunities without him in the lineup.
The Badgers and Huskies skated to an even first two periods, as both teams ended the first period tied with nine shots on goal each, then again were knotted up at the end of the second period at 17 shots a piece.
It was at the 8:42 mark of the third period, however, that the Huskies would finally break the scoring drought and get on the board. Following a defensive turnover by UW deep in its own zone, Milos Gordic was able to collect the puck and get a shot on goal. Blake Pietila was in front of the net to tap home the rebound to make it 1-0.
Now trailing, UW could ill afford to go down a man on top of things, but did so after Tyler Barnes (Eagan, Minn.) was called for tripping. The Badgers came up with a key penalty-kill, however, holding off a few shots from the Huskies and leaving themselves a chance to tie things back up.
Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis.) ended up on the wrong end of a hard penalty, in which Jujhar Khaira horse collared the sophomore defenseman to the ice and drew the two-minute holding penalty.
Looking for a late answer, UW capitalized on the man advantage, as Barnes broke through. A point shot by McCabe was tipped by Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.) in front, then Barnes whacked at the loose puck and poked in the power-play goal with 4:09 left in the game to even things up at 1-1.
The two teams would eventually head to overtime, where they skated out the 1-1 tie.
"We came out with a point," Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Ill.) said. "It is the best thing we've done at home so far this year. Moving forward, hopefully we build on that tomorrow."
Unbeaten in its last three games (1-0-2), UW returns to the ice on Saturday night against Michigan Tech, as UW looks for its first home win of the season. Opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m. (CT). The game airs live on Fox Sports Wisconsin.
For tomorrow night's game, Wisconsin's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will be running a "Toys for Tots" night, collecting new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations, with help from the U.S. Marines. Collection will take place at Gates A, B and C of the Kohl Center.
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