UW men's hockey comes back to force tie with No. 16 Gophers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UW men's hockey comes back to force tie with No. 16 Gophers

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Wisconsin men's hockey team (2-12-3, 0-2-0-1) rebounded from one of its worst starts to a game this season by assembling easily its best finish, as the Badgers forced a 2-2 tie with No. 16 Minnesota (10-7-2, 1-2-2-0), Friday night at Mariucci Arena.

While the game will officially go down as a tie, the Badgers earned an extra point in the conference standings by winning the shootout, 2-1.

Coming off a two-game sweep at the hands of Michigan last weekend, Minnesota seemed to have a little extra fire from the start.

The Gophers got out to a whopping 18-0 shot advantage, until Jedd Soleway finally tested U of M goaltender Adam Wilcox with a backhand shot with barely five minutes left in the first period.

Although Joel Rumpel kept his team in the game with 19 saves in the first 20 minutes—seven stops shy of the all-time Wisconsin single-period save total set by Kirk Daubenspeck on Jan. 1, 1997 at Minnesota-Duluth—he and his defensive core were not perfect.

Travis Boyd jarred the puck from Eddie Whittchow behind the net and turned to skate away from the left corner. Before reaching the left goal post, the Minnesota centerman backhanded a pass to Sam Warning in the slot who one-timed the puck past Rumpel.

The Gophers would have escaped the period without allowing a single solid scoring chance to UW if it was not for some nifty stick work by Grant Besse.

The sophomore skated up the left side of the ice with just one defender between him and the goal mouth. Besse decked right, under the stick of the Minnesota D-man, and pulled the puck back to his forehand, rifling a bullet that rung the iron where the right post meets the cross bar.

There was no scoring in the second period, but plenty of remarkable goal tending by Rumpel.

Jack Dougherty assisted his net minder with a big save of his own, falling to his knees and denying a point-blank shot which would have surely found the open net.

The Badgers had their best chance to knot the score on a 3-on-2 near the back end of the period.

Ryan Wagner led the rush, carrying the puck over the blue line on the left side of the ice. He found Matt Ustaski in the middle who gently tipped the puck through his legs to Brad Navin. The captain wound up and peppered Wilcox high left side, hitting the shaft of the U of M goalie's stick.

Minnesota got lucky in the third to extend its lead.

With an extra attacker on the ice due to a delayed penalty, Justin Kloos and Jake Bischoff set up a give and go near the left point. Bischoff then sent a wrister toward the net where it deflected off Morgan Zulinick and then the glove of Hudson Fasching before getting behind Rumpel.

UW finally found the net over halfway through the final frame.

Joseph LaBate passed ahead to Adam Rockwood who picked his head up and spotted Besse on the back door. Rockwood quickly slid the puck over and Besse buried the shot to bring Wisconsin within one.

Then, just 1:57 later, Jedd Soleway mimicked Besse's tally with his own version of a back-door score.

Similar to Rockwood's pass, but even more flashy, Cameron Hughes threaded the puck from left to right between numerous Minnesota sticks to find a streaking Soleway on the opposite side of net.

The goal was Soleway's fourth of the year, while Hughes picked up his team-leading sixth assist. Zulinick also added a helper on the goal, which extends his point streak to eight games.

Wisconsin's late scores proved to be enough to force a five-minute overtime period in which Rumpel continued to hold strong. The Swift Current, Saskatchewan, native tied his career high with 47 saves in the contest.

In the shootout, Rumpel let in just one goal, while Zulinick and Besse each squeezed shots through Wilcox's five-hole to earn their team an extra point in the Big Ten standings.

The Border Battle continues Saturday at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports Wisconsin.

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