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Badgers can't cash in on late chance before falling to No. 6 Michigan in overtime
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Badgers can't cash in on late chance before falling to No. 6 Michigan in overtime

From the Look back on State Journal coverage of Badgers men's hockey games in the 2020-21 season series
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Roman Ahcan thought the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team had a go-ahead goal late in the third period Friday.

Roman Ahcan headshot


So did the people operating the goal horn and red lights inside LaBahn Arena.

The referees couldn’t be convinced either in real time or on video replay. Before long, the Badgers fell victim to an overtime score that took some steam out of a good rebound performance.

Freshman Thomas Bordeleau’s highlight-reel winner in 3-on-3 overtime gave No. 6 Michigan a 2-1 victory over UW.

Missing their top two centers, the Badgers narrowly missed claiming a series split.

“It’s pretty heartbreaking, honestly,” goalie Robbie Beydoun said. “... We’re disappointed with how this weekend went but we know we’re playing pretty good hockey.”

It almost was good enough Friday, but that didn’t count for much.

On the second of two Badgers power plays late in regulation, Cole Caufield threw the puck on net out of the right corner, and Ahcan was there looking to poke it past goaltender Strauss Mann.

Caufield and Ahcan threw their hands in the air as the puck got underneath Mann’s pads, leading the goal lights to start turning and the horn to blow. But the ruling was that the puck never crossed the goal line, a viewpoint that the referees stuck with after review.

“I thought it went in but they called it off,” Ahcan said. “That’s the adversity we have to deal with and we have to figure out how to win even after that.”

The teams traded chances in overtime but the Wolverines (4-0, 2-0-0-1 Big Ten) made the last opportunity pay off.

Bordeleau drove up the left side in the final minute of the 3-on-3 extra session and got the Badgers’ Linus Weissbach to go down to the ice with his stick extended.

The Michigan center worked around him to the front of the net while the Wolverines’ Eric Ciccolini and UW’s Anthony Kehrer were tied up next to the cage. Bordeleau flipped a backhand shot past Beydoun.

Beydoun, who finished with 34 saves, said Ciccolini clipped his left skate while engaged with Kehrer and asked for a review for goaltender interference. Officials counted the goal after consulting the replay.

“I was clearly behind the play because of that,” Beydoun said.

In a new format in Big Ten hockey this season, the Badgers (2-2, 2-1-0-1) got one point for being tied after regulation.

Already missing second-line center Dylan Holloway because of Canada’s World Junior Championship camp, UW also played without top-line pivot Ty Pelton-Byce a day after he suffered an apparent head injury in a collision with the boards.

With Brock Caufield moved up to the middle of the top line and Dominick Mersch playing a more regular role at center, the Badgers didn’t fold against a young star-studded Michigan lineup.

“That’s part of hockey, when you do have players out other guys filling the role, so to speak, and battling,” UW coach Tony Granato said.

Michigan’s potent offense pinned the Badgers in their zone for most of a six-minute stretch of the third period in which the Wolverines generated 15 straight shot attempts.

Beydoun made eight saves in that span.

“We can’t really ask much more from Robbie there,” Ahcan said. “... We’ve got to find a way to help him out and get some pucks in the back of the net.”

The Badgers struck first on an Ahcan power-play goal less than two minutes into the second period. But Michigan’s Nick Granowicz scored later in the period to send the teams to the third period even.

From near the right boards, Tarek Baker threaded a pass past the stick of Michigan’s Jack Summers to Ahcan for a tap in at the back post.

UW has scored a power-play goal in all four of its games this season.

On a Michigan rush just after Matty Beniers had a shot hit the left post off a scramble around Beydoun’s net, the Badgers goalie made a save on Beniers. But Beydoun looked right for the rebound when it instead bounced to his left for Granowicz to knock home.

“It was a tough bounce on both of the goals against,” Beydoun said.

UW’s Jack Gorniak prevented what was about to be a first-period goal by Beniers to keep the game scoreless. Jack Becker’s redirection of a Kent Johnson shot rebounded off Beydoun and into the open part of the crease, but Gorniak got his stick on it before Beniers could tap it in.

That was the best scoring chance for either team in the opening 20 minutes, which featured three UW shots on a power play.

Get ready for Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey season with State Journal's in-depth coverage

Wisconsin State Journal reporter Todd D. Milewski breaks down everything Badgers fans need to know about the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team, the competition the Badgers face in the Big Ten, and other stories to watch during the 2020-21 season. 

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Badgers sophomore forward Dylan Holloway and junior defenseman Ty Emberson were honorable mention selections for the preseason teams.

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The path to success for the 2020-21 Badgers men's hockey team depends in large part on how they absorb and apply the lessons learned from a subpar season.

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The Badgers don't return a goalie from the previous season's roster for the first time in 46 years.

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The first national rankings of the NCAA men's hockey season are out, and the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team has work to do to impre…

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The Big Ten released the first half of the season schedule, which for the Badgers includes three series at home and three on the road.

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Badgers men's hockey coach Tony Granato talks with State Journal reporter Todd D. Milewski about an opening stretch of the season that include…

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All 10 Badgers men's hockey home games in the second half of the season are scheduled to air on Fox Sports Wisconsin or Fox Sports Wisconsin Plus.

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Linus Weissbach picked a fourth season with the Badgers over staying home to play in Sweden during the pandemic.

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University of Wisconsin men's hockey senior Ty Pelton-Byce talks with reporters about the start of the season on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020.

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The teams that win regular-season championships in NCAA hockey tend to be the ones that can adapt to changing landscapes over a long season.

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University of Wisconsin men's hockey senior Tarek Baker talks with reporters about the start of the season on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020.

Michigan 0 1 0 1 — 2

Wisconsin 0 1 0 0 — 1

First period penalty: Power, M, 9:33.

Second period: W — Ahcan 1 (Baker, C. Caufield), 1:51 (pp). M — Granowicz 2 (Beniers, Johnson), 13:59. Penalties: Brisson, M, :41; Baker, W, 6:25; Power, M, 16:23.

Third period penalties: Bordeleau, M, 14:07; Johnson, M, 16:44.

Overtime: M — Bordeleau 2 (Power), 4:33.

Saves: M (Mann 8-6-7-1) 22; W (Beydoun 12-4-14-4) 34. Power plays: M 0-for-2; W 1-for-5.


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