Peter Tischke has been pretty far from being considered a goal-scoring threat over his four-year career with the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team.
It’s not his role; he has been a shut-down defenseman and a workhorse for the Badgers over the past three seasons, especially.
But when you’re hot, you’re hot. Tischke broke a deadlock with his second goal in as many games — and just the seventh of his 116-game UW career — in the third period Friday and the Badgers surged past Michigan State 5-3 at the Kohl Center.
With a 180-foot empty-net goal against Penn State last Saturday and the go-ahead goal with 11:19 remaining Friday, is Tischke gaining a reputation as a scorer as his senior season nears the midway point?
“I wish,” he said, chuckling.
For the second straight game, the Badgers recovered after squandering a multiple-goal lead to extend their unbeaten streak. They’re 2-0-3 in their past five games and returned to .500 (7-7-3, 3-3-3-1 Big Ten Conference) with their first Friday night victory in their past eight tries.
Tischke fired home a shot through traffic from near the right boards with 11:19 remaining in the third period for a 4-3 lead. It came after an offensive-zone faceoff win by UW’s Sean Dhooghe.
Wyatt Kalynuk added some insurance less than three minutes later, scoring on a long-range shot that eluded Michigan State goalie Drew DeRidder after the defenseman entered the zone as the only Badgers player on a rush against five Spartans players.
Including Ty Emberson’s second-period score, the Badgers got three goals from defensemen launching shots from distance.
“They collapse low in the (defensive) zone, so we were trying to get it up to the point,” said Tischke, who recorded his fourth two-point game and first since Oct. 20, 2017. “The forwards did a really good job of getting to the net.”
After Michigan State (6-8-1, 2-4-1-1) scored three times in just over 11 minutes of the second period to turn a 3-0 Badgers lead into a tie game, UW regained momentum in the third with an 11-1 advantage in shots on goal and seven shot blocks.
“It was what we needed,” Badgers coach Tony Granato said. “We needed to settle it back down. In the second period, we made some mistakes that gave them their opportunities, and we wanted to really make sure that we were solid.”
Michigan State’s Patrick Khodorenko scored twice and added an assist in the middle frame to erase the Badgers’ 3-0 lead.
The Spartans’ top line with Khodorenko centering Taro Hirose and Mitchell Lewandowski has been responsible for most of the team’s even-strength scoring, and they’ve burned the Badgers before. Lewandowski scored six of the nine goals that Michigan State recorded in four games against UW last season.
On Friday, it was three goals on four Michigan State shots on Badgers goalie Daniel Lebedeff (14 saves) over 11:06 that turned what was looking like a comfortable game for the Badgers into a nail-biter.
Khodorenko knifed through lax coverage by four Badgers defenders to score his first goal, a short-side snap shot from the left circle.
He scored again after Hirose, behind the net, snuck a pass to him through Tischke.
Defenseman Jerad Rosburg made it 3-3 with 1:52 left in the period when his shot from the left point deflected in off the stick of Badgers defender K’Andre Miller, who was tied up with Khodorenko in front of the net.
Granato played Dominick Mersch’s all-freshman line with Roman Ahcan and Brock Caufield against Khodorenko’s trio for most of the game.
“That’s a big responsibility for three freshmen, and I thought they did an outstanding job,” Granato said.
Spartans coach Danton Cole said he thought his team played well for the first half of the third period after carrying the momentum into the intermission.
“I didn’t think we did a good job after that,” he said. “Their (defensemen) were able to get up into the play and come through the neutral zone with speed, and we didn’t do a very good job handling it.”
Badgers left wing Linus Weissbach played for the first time since he injured his right hand in practice on Oct. 29, and he got right back into contributing to the offense.
Weissbach, who had eight points in UW’s first six games before missing 10 contests, assisted on Dhooghe’s team-leading eighth goal of the season, on the power play 2:05 into the game.
The Badgers opened up a 3-0 lead with goals 1:46 apart by Mick Messner and Emberson in the opening five minutes of the second period. Weissbach, who declined an interview request after the game, was on the ice for both of those goals and Tischke’s winner, ending up plus-3.
“It’s a huge addition, having him back in the lineup,” Dhooghe said. “His vision is off the charts. And just the offense he creates, it brings a big part of the way we want to play each night.”
Michigan State 0 3 0 — 3
Wisconsin 1 2 2 — 5
First period: W — S. Dhooghe 8 (Weissbach, Baker), 2:05 (pp). Penalties: Sanford, M, 1:13; Mersch, W, 3:21; Saliba, M, 4:06; Miller, W, 17:17.
Second period: W — Messner 3 (Emberson, Freytag), 3:14; Emberson 2 (Malone, Tischke), 5:00; M — Khodorenko 10 (Hirose, Lewandowski), 7:02; Khodorenko 11 (Hirose, Rosburg), 11:53; Rosburg 2 (Hirose, Khodorenko), 18:08.
Third period: W — Tischke 2 (Baker, S. Dhooghe), 8:41; Kalynuk 7, 11:21. Penalties: Freytag, W, 14:34; Osburn, M, 14:34.
Saves: M (DeRidder 10-10-9) 29; W (Lebedeff 9-4-1) 14. Power plays: M 0-for-2; W 1-for-2. Att. — 7,953.