Sometimes the puck doesn’t bounce your way, and for the Wisconsin men’s hockey team it bounced the wrong way into the Badgers’ own net.With UW (0-6-0) trailing by one to No. 2 North Dakota (7-1-1, 2-0-0 NCHC) with less than 10 minutes left in the third period, defenseman Chase Drake tried to clear a loose rebound in front of his own crease. But instead of moving the puck to safety, Drake swiped it past senior netminder Joel Rumpel to give UND a pivotal goal and a 3-1 lead with 9:37 left in regulation.“I was just trying to clear it and Rumps was going to save it,” Drake said. “I should have let him have it. I ended up just getting my stick caught in his glove and pushing it in myself.”Just 44 seconds later, UND defenseman Troy Stecher rifled a wrister past Rumpel to extend the lead to 4-1 and shift the momentum squarely on North Dakota’s side.UND would tack on another goal later in the final period to make it a 5-1 final score, but despite what the scoreboard might have indicated, UW head coach Mike Eaves thought his team had played better than a night before.That better play centered on the Badgers’ performance in the second period, where they outshot UND 10-7. The second period was the only one during the weekend which the Badgers possessed a shot advantage. However, even with several quality chances, Wisconsin managed to put only one shot past North Dakota goaltender Zane McIntyre. After UW freshman center Ryan Wagner had a breakaway chance denied by McIntyre just over six minutes into the period, sophomore Grant Besse came right back for the Badgers and ripped a wrister from the slot to tie the game at one.But outside of that goal 6:16 into the second frame, Wisconsin had several close opportunities slip through its fingers. Besse had another good chance in the late stages of the period, as Wisconsin tried to battle back again to tie the score after UND had taken the lead at the midway point of the second. Drake fed Besse in the right circle, and it looked like Besse had most of the net to shoot at. But on the ensuing shot, McIntyre kicked out his left pad to sustain the North Dakota advantage.“It could have been a turning point in the game if we had converted on some of those chances we had,” Eaves said of the second period. “We didn’t make the shots that we needed to.”Wisconsin heads into its third bye week in its last four weeks still searching for its first win of the season, the longest the Badgers have gone winless since Eaves took over as head coach in 2002.Although UW experienced a frustrating loss Saturday night, it came against one of the best teams in the country and left some hope in the wake of another defeat.“We took a lot of big steps this weekend,” Rumpel said. “They’re the number two team in the country. We’re beating them, down by one in both games going into the third. Obviously you can tell that we’re getting better, so I wouldn’t call it discouragement, more like improvement.”
Breakdown: Wisconsin vs. Rutgers
Fiammetta: Quality opponent doesn’t diminish UW’s mishaps
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