March 19, 2010
Box Score | Box Score
ST. PAUL, Minn.--Despite outshooting St. Cloud State, 37-22, the No. 3 Wisconsin men's hockey team (24-10-4) fell to the No. 6 Huskies (23-12-5) in the WCHA Final Five semifinal Friday afternoon at the Xcel Energy Center. The Badgers will take on the loser of the Denver and North Dakota semifinal game tomorrow at 2 p.m. for third place.
No scoring took place in the opening 20 minutes of play; however, the Badger defense was called upon less than five minutes into the game. After junior defenseman Brendan Smith (Mimico, Ontario) and sophomore blue liner Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka, Minn.) went each went off for penalties within a minute of each other, the UW defense successfully killed off 57 seconds of a 5-on-3.
The Badgers had a golden opportunity to score in the first, but senior tri-captain Blake Geoffrion (Brentwood, Tenn.) saw his pass go off the stick of a cutting Jordy Murray (Faribault, Minn.) in front of the Husky net, thanks to an SCSU defender.
Junior goaltender Scott Gudmandson (Sherwood Park, Alberta) starred between the pipes in the first as well, as he turned away all nine St. Cloud State shot attempts. The Badgers were 2-for-2 in penalty killing in the period and led in shots-on-goal with 12 attempts but also went 0-for-3 on the power play.
In the early goings of the second, the Badger defense continued its solid penalty-killing after it successfully killed off a five-minute major penalty committed by junior defender Cody Goloubef (Oakville, Ontario).
However, after nearly 40 minutes of scoreless hockey, the Huskies notched the game's first score. After Brendan Smith went off the ice for a penalty, SCSU scored on the man-advantage with 52.9 seconds remaining in the second. Gudmandson made a partial save on a St. Cloud State shot, and as the puck trickled past the goaltender, St. Cloud State forward Ryan Lasch finished the job. The goal gave the Huskies a 1-0 advantage heading into the third.
The Badgers controlled much of the third period play, outshooing SCSU, 20-5, as the squad looked for their first win of the season when trailing after two periods.
Perhaps the best chance for the equalizer came with the Badgers short-handed as senior forward Ben Grotting (Birmingham, Ala.) saw his shot go just wide on a short-handed attempt from in close on a mostly open net. The Badgers would get close again in the closing minutes as a Brendan Smith slapshot got through SCSU goalie Mike Lee and bounced off the post.
After 19 minutes of scoreless action in the third, St. Cloud State's Travis Novak added a cushion to the Husky lead. The sophomore forward shoved in an empty netter to make the score a 2-0 advantage for the Huskies.
Gudmandson was a silver lining for the Cardinal and White. The junior absorbed the loss by stopping 21 shots and giving up one goal, though his record fell to 16-4-4 on the season. Husky goaltender Mike Lee stopped all 37 Badger attempts, and his record climbed to 11-8-3 on the year.
The Badgers will play in tomorrow afternoon's consolation game at 2 p.m. against Denver, a 4-3 loser to North Dakota.
NCAA selections for the 16-team 2010 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament will be announced on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. CT on ESPN2.
Brady Hartung, UW Athletic Communications