Notre Dame (10-12-2, 8-10-2 Big Ten) made No. 5 Wisconsin (15-8-1, 13-6-1 Big Ten) fight to the finish in both games this past weekend, with the Badgers winning game one but falling in overtime in game two.
Game one started off on a sour note for Wisconsin — just 31 seconds into the game, Notre Dame’s Alex Steeves knocked one in for the early lead, and at 8:28 in the period, Graham Slaggert found the back of the net to give the Fighting Irish a 2-0 lead.
The Badgers, however, didn’t let this stop them and brought a wave of hope with them onto the ice, which quickly turned into goals.
Sophomore forward Owen Lindmark cut their deficit in half just three minutes into the second period, thanks to assists from Jack Gorniak and Matty De St.Phalle, with a slapshot in a wide open Notre Dame net.
The nation’s leading scorer, Cole Caufield, was able to tie things up a few minutes later on a power play opportunity — the sophomore forward received a pass from Dylan Holloway who took the puck and fired it into the top left corner of the net, bringing the score to 2-2.
While the rest of the second period would go scoreless, senior forward Linus Weissbach made sure the third period didn’t.
Not only did Weissbach give Wisconsin the lead 8:18 into the third period, but he also scored his 100th career point. After Caufield whiffed on a shot, Ty Pelton-Byce passed the puck in highlight reel worthy fashion to Weissbach who hit a one-timer into the net.
But apparently 100 points wasn’t enough for Wiessbach, as he scored point 101 on an empty net opportunity in the final minute of the game, allowing the Badgers to go home with the 4-2 victory.
“It was probably the best way it could happen,” Weissbach said after the game. “It’s a good feeling to help your team out in any way and today it was a goal.”
Game two started off similar to game one, as the Badgers were playing sloppy hockey and the Fighting Irish got on the board first for the second straight game. This time, Trevor Janicke tapped the puck in past Wisconsin goalkeeper Cameron Rowe for the first score of the game.
But once again, the Badgers were determined to make a comeback. This began with a power play goal 15 minutes into the game, as Pelton-Byce got the puck in during a scramble in front of the net.
Things continued to look up for Wisconsin with another goal 13:26 into the second period, this time from Roman Achan, who tapped in a rebound from Notre Dame goalkeeper Dylan St. Cyr. Caufield added to the momentum during the final minute of the second with a quick shot off of a Pelton-Byce pass, with Tyle Inamoto also receiving an assist point, to give them a 3-1 lead going into the second intermission.
This two goal lead didn’t last very long, however, as the third period provided everything but the kitchen sink for both teams.
Notre Dame tied the game 3-3 seven minutes into the period with quick back to back goals, the first a power play goal from Steeves and the second from Colin Theisen.
But for the second game in a row, Weissbach came to the rescue for Wisconsin. He took a pass from Pelton-Byce and gave it to Caufield, who passed it back to him to tap into an open net for a 4-3 lead.
That lead only lasted another two minutes, as Notre Dame tied things again with a goal from Steeves for the tie and gained a 5-4 lead less than a minute after that, with Solag Bakich hitting it in the net.
Just when it looked like all hope was last for the Badgers, they made sure it wasn’t. With only thirty seconds left in the game, Dylan Holloway won a faceoff in front of Notre Dame’s net and immediately got the puck to Pelton-Byce, who hit a one-timer over St. Cyr’s shoulder to tie things up at five each.
No team was able to score in the final 27 seconds, which meant that they were going to overtime. The overtime, however, did not result in any goals, which meant the game would end as a 5-5 tie. But to determine who gets the extra point for the game, Wisconsin and Notre Dame had to face off in a shootout.
Caufield, Holloway and Pelton-Byce were all unable to score while Notre Dame’s Max Ellis was able to get past Rowe and win the shootout 1-0 for the Fighting Irish.
The Badgers were only 13 minutes away from a sweep when they started to lose control of the game. While UW Head Coach Tony Granato is fortunate they were able to come back for the tie, losing in shootouts was not as good of a feeling as winning would’ve been.
“The game was one of those crazy ones where you think you’re in control and things are going well, and then a break goes against you and you make a mistake that gives them a chance. They capitalized on that,” Granato said. “The good thing is that we were able to make plays and get back in it when we fell behind.”
Ohio State will travel to Madison this week for Wisconsin’s final home series of the season, with games scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday.