The visiting Tigers had their chances on offense at key moments, but could not cash in, allowing the Badgers to cruise late to a nonconference victory.
Three power plays that included about two minutes of 5-on-3 advantage during the third period were not cashed in.
“It’s been like that all year,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “There’s good goaltending, solid defense but we are not getting the offensive production at key moments. It was 3-1, but we could have made it interesting with the power play.”
The Tigers nearly scored twice 74 seconds apart with one rebound lying in front as players from both teams fell to the ice with 5:57 left.
“Jefferson (Dahl) somehow got the puck out of there,” Badgers senior Frankie Simonelli said. “It came down to heart.”
The second chance came when freshman Alex Roos fired a shot off the crossbar. By then the Kohl Center crowd of 7,847 fans was too loud for the clang to be heard beyond the ice.
That carom proved to be the Tigers’ last gasp.
“There should have been more hunger, more bite from all of us, including myself,” CC senior Alexander Krushelnyski said. “We need more second efforts.”
Earlier, Wisconsin took control with 14:15 left when senior Michael Mersch scored for a 3-1 lead.
The Big 10’s Badgers (7-5-1) controlled much of the second period, but a shorthanded goal by Krushelnyski kept the game close. He intercepted a soft pass from Wisconsin sophomore Nic Kerdiles near center ice for a breakaway.
“I made a bonehead play there,” Kerdiles said. “After that, you owe one to the team.”
Krushelnyski skated in and fired a low shot under Badgers junior netminder Joel Rumpel’s blocker with 4:15 left in the middle frame for a 1-1 tie and the first shorty of the year for the Tigers (2-11-3) of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Kerdiles atoned for that mistake by tallying a power-play goal with only 1.1 seconds left in the second.
“Me and Mo (Mersch) dug in there and got it in,” Kerdiles said.
Wisconsin junior Joseph LaBate fired the puck and it deflected in under the crossbar off a CC defender’s stick for the opening goal, a power-play score with only a second remaining on the man advantage midway through the second.
Wisconsin drew four CC penalties during that period and converted twice. Colorado College must avoid handing the Badgers more power plays on Saturday; the finale for both teams before the holiday break.
“We need to move our feet and not give the referee the opportunity to make the call,” Tigers senior defenseman Eamonn McDermott said.
Badgers-Tigers series will continue
Colorado College will host Wisconsin for a single game on Nov. 21 next season in cooperation with Air Force and Denver.
The Tigers will travel to Air Force and Cadet Ice Arena the next night, Nov. 22, while the Big Ten’s Badgers conclude their road trip in the Centennial State at Magness Arena against the Pioneers.
Roots of rivalry run deep
Friday’s game was the 185th dating back to Jan. 8, 1965, a game involving then CC coach Bob Johnson, later known as “Badger Bob,” and future Tigers and Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer, who played for the Tigers in that game. Longtime Badgers assistant Bill Howard (1983-2008) also played in that game. The Kohl Center houses the Bob Johnson Rink.
CC volunteer goalie coach Terry Kleisinger (1980-84) and Graham Melanson (1997-2001) are tied for second at Wisconsin with eight career shutouts.
Current Tigers wing Charlie Taft, a healthy scratch on Friday, is the son of former Wisconsin standout John Taft (1972-77) and a member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic team.
Badgers goalie coach Jeff Sanger holds the CC school records for wins (76) and shutouts (16). He played from 1998-2002 for coaches Don Lucia and Scott Owens, a Madison, Wis. native.
WJC line-up shuffle
CC freshman Gustav Olofsson will be unavailable for Saturday’s game since he will be en route to Sweden to play for the host country in the 2014 World Junior Championships Dec. 26-Jan. 5. Tigers sophomore Michael King will take his place on Saturday.
Tigers coach Scott Owens said the game is a well-deserved opportunity for the defenseman, who has missed much of the past three seasons (including junioirs) with injuries.
Wisconsin’s Nic Kerdiles and CC’s Jaccob Slavin were both named to Team USA’s 29-man preliminary roster. They are expected to play on Saturday.
CC senior Jeff Collett and Kerdiles had their facemasks locked up together during as face off with 3:45 left in the game, prompting an officials’ timeout. … Collett fired one of three shots by Colorado College that went off a post or crossbar during the 4-1 nonconference loss.
No. 15 Wisconsin 4, Colorado College 1
Colorado College 0 1 0 –1
Wisconsin 0 2 2 –4
First period – No scoring. Penalties – None.
Second period – 1. UW, LaBate (Besse, Simonelli) 8:17 (PP); 2. CC, Krushelnyski (unassisted) 15:45 (SH); 3. UW, Kerdiles (Zengerle, Barnes), 19:58 (PP). Penalties – CC, Stoykewych, interference, 6:18; CC, Fejes, tripping, 10:38; CC, Roos, interference, 14:18; CC, Stoykewych, elbowing, 19:39.
Third period – 4. UW, Mersch (Besse, Kerdiles) 5:45; 5. UW, Simonelli (unassisted) 19:51 (EN). Penalties – UW, Soleway, roughing, 10:53; UW, Little, hitting after the whistle, roughing, CC, Stoykewych, roughing, 10:53; CC, Hansen, roughing, 10:53; UW, McCabe, cross-checking, 11:57; UW, Simonelli, cross-checking, 13:05.
Power play – CC 0-3, UW 2-4. Shots on goal – CC 6-7-13 – 26; UW 7-14-8 – 29. Saves-minutes – CC, Thorimbert 7-12-6 – 58:11; UW, Rumpel 6-6-13 – 60:00. Referees – Beaurline, Hunt. Linesmen – Shikowsky, Moberg. Attendance – 7.847 (13,310).