EAST LANSING, Mich. — It took only a few minutes for the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team to run the emotional gamut Saturday.
It ended on the lowest of lows for the Badgers.
Patrick Khodorenko scored 2:30 into overtime to give Michigan State a 5-4 victory over 19th-ranked UW after the Badgers scored in the final minute to tie.
Captain Wyatt Kalynuk, who temporarily rescued the Badgers by scoring with 20.2 seconds remaining in the third period, felt the despair deeply after the game.
“You go from the high of tying it ... and then you get in the locker room after the game and it means nothing,” Kalynuk said. “It’s definitely a tough one to swallow.”
The Badgers, ranked No. 6 nationally at one point in the first half, finished the 2019 portion of their schedule 7-10-1 and 2-7-1-1 in Big Ten Conference play, only one point out of last place. They have won only once in their last seven games (1-5-1).
Khodorenko’s second goal of the game brought a third straight defeat for UW, which saw a 3-1 lead at the start of the third period disappear.
The Spartans’ top-line center blasted a shot past Badgers goaltender Jack Berry from the left circle, ringing the bottom of the crossbar on the way in.
“I thought we should have won that game,” said Berry, who made 39 saves on Michigan State’s season-high 44 shots on goal. “I’ve got to be better.”
Cole Caufield recorded the fourth multiple-goal game of his freshman season for the Badgers, scoring twice in the second period for a 3-1 lead.
But Michigan State’s top line of Khodorenko, Mitchell Lewandowski and Sam Saliba, held off the score sheet in the Spartans’ 3-0 victory on Friday, rallied in the third.
Lewandowski zinged a shot from the high slot past Berry’s glove 2:48 into the period. Saliba evened things on a short-handed breakaway less than five minutes later after Kalynuk couldn’t hold the offensive zone.
And Lewandowski’s second of the game for a 4-3 lead with 6:32 remaining appeared to be a soft one on Berry. The Spartans junior pulled up in the top of the slot and fired a shot that the goaltender got a glove on, only to have it pop out and float down to the ice and into the net.
The Badgers called on Berry for his second start of the season as part of a host of changes after Friday’s loss.
And Saturday presented a similar situation to Berry’s first start. Like two weeks earlier at Minnesota, UW needed a response after a three-goal road loss on Friday.
Through two periods Saturday, it had a suitable answer prepared. It fell apart in the third.
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“The bottom line is in the important parts of the game, we beat ourselves,” Badgers coach Tony Granato said. “Michigan State’s a good team. When they needed a goal tonight, they found a way to battle through it. The short-handed one hurts.”
After he hit the post three times in the third period Friday, Caufield found the net twice in the second period Saturday.
His first put the Badgers in a 2-1 lead midway through the frame. Jack Gorniak sped up the left wing and circled behind the goal line to feed the puck in front for Caufield to roof a shot.
After the teams traded power-play chances, Caufield struck again on a breakaway created by a long pass from Sean Dhooghe. Caufield beat Spartans goaltender John Lethemon (33 saves) between the pads.
“We had them right where we wanted them and we couldn’t finish it,” Caufield said.
The Spartans (8-7-1, 6-3-1-0) answered Ty Pelton-Byce’s first-period goal for UW with Khodorenko’s score early in the second period, just after a power play ended.
The Badgers lost forward Tarek Baker to a left leg injury six minutes into the second period. The junior forward had his leg bend underneath him awkwardly after he checked Michigan State defenseman Dennis Cesana and both slid into a linesman.
Baker didn’t put weight on his left leg as he was helped off the ice. Granato said Baker tried to return but couldn’t.
With Berry pulled for an extra attacker in the dying seconds of regulation, Kalynuk was able to stymie a Spartans effort to clear the zone.
The defenseman got the puck low in the left circle, where he slapped a shot past Lethemon’s glove side.
“I don’t even know if I looked at the net,” Kalynuk said. “I just shot it, and lucky enough, it went in.”
The luck and good feeling didn’t last long.
Wisconsin 1 2 1 0 — 4
Michigan State 0 1 3 1 — 5
First period: W — Pelton-Byce 4 (Baker), 11:00. Penalties: Cesana, MS, 6:42; Khodorenko, MS, 18:57; Emberson, W, 18:57; Vorlicky, W, 19:18.
Second period: MS — Khodorenko 7 (Saliba, Cesana), 1:24. W — C. Caufield 11 (Gorniak), 9:54; C. Caufield 12 (S. Dhooghe), 17:33. Penalties: Lambdin, MS, 14:23; Kalynuk, W, 15:15.
Third period: MS — Lewandowski 4 (Khodorenko), 2:48; Saliba 4 (Rosburg), 7:11 (sh); Lewandowski 5 (Rosburg), 13:28. W — Kalynuk 4, 19:39. Penalties: Apap, MS, 7:02; Apap, MS, 12:51; Vorlicky, W, 12:51.
Overtime: MS — Khodorenko 8 (Lewandowski, Cesana), 2:30.
Saves: W (Berry 12-15-9-3) 39; MS (Lethemon 12-8-12-1) 33. Power plays: W 0-for-3; MS 0-for-2. Att. — 5,608.