North Dakota too much for Badgers in home opener

Madison, Wis. — The Badgers fought valiantly against the number 2 ranked team in the nation and took a 2-1 lead into the third period of play. However, UND proved to be too much, sneaking out a 4-3 win against Wisconsin at the Kohl Center.

The first period of play started off slow with both sides looking a little out of sync. Wisconsin struggled all period to maintain any possession in the North Dakota zone.

UND looked to be in control for the rest of the period but could not come up with any goals against UW, Joel Rumpel who ended the night with 39 saves.

Joel single handedly kept Wisconsin in the game produced seven of his 39 saves in the first period. Two of those seven being particularly spectacular robbing UND Colten St. Clair of a sure backside goal with only two minutes remaining in the first.

The Badgers best chance of the first period came courtesy of Sophomore Grant Besse as he sidestepped a defender behind UND’s net and tip toed into the crease. North Dakota’s Zane McIntyre (17 saves on the night) swallowed up the puck.

Come the end of the first twenty, UND and UW had skated to a 0-0 tie.

Scoring opened up in the second period and the Badgers started it up with UW captain, Chase Drake netting his first goal of the season beating McIntyre with a nice wrist shot while UW was on the power play.

After finally gaining the lead the Badgers’ defense looked frantic to protect it causing UW to commit a penalty. UND really had its way with the Badgers while on the power play.

North Dakota’s Connor Gaarder jumped on the opportunity and put a wrist shot past Rumpel to tie the game at 1-1 with 14:26 left in the second period.

Wisconsin responded well, Rumpel coming up big in the last four minutes of the second period keeping the Badgers at a 1-1 tie with North Dakota.

With time winding down in the 2nd period UW had one more shot. Jedd Soleay found the puck on his stick 18 minutes into the 2nd period and took a shot from a little within the blue line with one UND defender in front of him. The puck went blocker side on McIntrye, hit the crossbar and in to give the Badgers a 2-1 lead going into the third period.

The scoring continued into the third period, just 3 minutes and 12 seconds into the third UND got the equalizer thanks to Colten St. Clair who ripped a beautiful one timer from the right face off dot past Joel Rumpel.

UND gained the lead five minutes later with another power play goal by Michael Parks, who found himself alone in the slot and slid one past Rumpel giving UND a 3-2 lead.

After giving up the third goal and going down 2-3 the Badgers looked dejected and tired.

Coach Mike Eaves who drops to 14-15-1 against UND all time, described the final part of the third period as “biking into a 40 mile per hour head win, it’s tough work.”

That work was even harder with defensemen Eddie Wittchow leaving the game early due to a broken finger. He is out indefinitely according to the information provided post game.

UND added to their lead off a beautiful short-handed goal by Michael Peaks, his second of the night. The Badgers were trying to set up their power play when a mistake lead to Peaks alone, one on one against Rumpel. Peaks went top shelf glove side beating Rumpel for the 4-2 lead 12:23 into the final period.

The Badgers refused to go away however, and Chase Drake added his second goal of the night pulling the Badgers within one with 18.1 seconds left in the game.

The Badgers then took a timeout and pulled Rumpel, giving them an extra skater for the final seconds of the game.

18.1 seconds proved to be not enough time as the final horn blew with North Dakota on top 4-2. UND out shot the Badgers 43-20.

Despite the disappointing loss, Badger Jedd Soleway looked at the positives for Wisconsin.

“We are learning every game, and that shows,” Soleway said following the loss Friday night.

Defensemen Chase Drake also added how well he thought all the freshman played in their Kohl Center debut.

“(the freshman) played big minutes, kept it simple and they played well,” said Drake.

The Badgers slip to 0-5 on the year with the loss while UND improves to 6-1-1. The two teams face off again Saturday 7pm CT at the Kohl Center.

Sawyer Bock

About Sawyer Bock

Sawyer is a Sophomore at UW-Madison majoring in Communication Arts and a beat writer for the UW- Men's Hockey Team. You can catch him on UW-Madison's student radio WSUM where he hosts a sports talk show and broadcasts numerous varieties of Badger sports or on twitter @YoungSawyer_