UW Health Sports Medicine 

Badgers defeat Denver 4-2 for first NCAA title

ON WISCONSIN <b>Stan Hinkley celebrates Dean Talafous' game tying goal in the national semi-final against Cornell.</b>
Stan Hinkley celebrates Dean Talafous' game tying goal in the national semi-final against Cornell.

March 17, 1973

BOSTON -- The Wisconsin Badgers are the National Champions of collegiate hockey. Wisconsin won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship late last weekend by beating Cornell 6-5 in overtime and then disposing of Denver 4-2 in the title game to become the first Wisconsin team to win an NCAA title since the Badger boxing team did it in 1956.

The Badgers came within five seconds of never having a shot at the title at all. Thats how much time was left on the Boston Garden clock when Wisconsin tied Cornell 5-5 to send the game into sudden-death overtime. Wisconsin had made an incredible comeback after cornell jumped out to a 4-0 lead midway through the second period.

The Badgers narrowed it to 4-2 on goals by Norm Cherrey and Dennis Olmstead, but Cornell scored their fifth goal only :40 seconds into the final period. Then started the Wisconsin comeback. Junior Gary Winchester scored midway through the period to narrow Cornells lead to two goals and with 3:11 to go senior Jim Johnston scored to bring Wisconsin within one goal.

With :43 seconds left in the game Badger coach Bob Johnson pulled goaltender Dick Perkins to put a sixth skater on the ice. With the Wisconsin net wide open, freshman center Dennis Olmstead continually won important face-offs as the Badgers controlled the puck. Cornell never even got a shot on the Wisconsin open net and coach Johnson said afterwards, We never lost our poise.

Even with the seconds ticking down to zero, Olmstead passed in front of the Cornell net to sophomore Dean Talafous who poked it in and the game was tied 5-5. The unbelievable comeback continued into overtime and at one point Cornell had a two man breakaway but Perkins made the save. With :33 seconds left in the overtime period, Olmstead centered the puck to freshman Steve Alley, Alleys shot was blocked but the rebound came to Talafous and this time he scored the winer.

Perkins finished with 38 saves for Wisconsin while Cornell goal Dave Elenbaas had 34.

Wisconsin then moved into the championship game with Denver who had ousted Boston College 10-4 in the tournaments first game on Thursday night.

Wisconsin freshman Dave Pay opened the scoring in the first period but Denver tied it at 1-1. The Pioneers took a 2-1 lead early in the second period but from that point on it was all Wisconsin as the Badgers showed no after-effects of the exhausting game against Cornell the night before and completely outskated Denver. Denver was the Western Collegiate Hockey Association champion and had been ranked the number one team in the nation coming into the NCAA tourney.

Captain Tim Dool tied the game at 2-2 and that that man Talafous again scored the goal that proved to be the winner putting Wisconsin ahead 3-2. Senior Jim Johnston added an insurance goal in the third period and junior Jim Makey was superb in the nets kicking out 32 Denver shots. But somehow, even the national championship game paled in comparison with the Badger team heroics against Cornell.

No NCAA All-Tournament team was named, but Talafous was named Most Valuable Player in the tournament. Wisconsin became the first team since 1965 to win both the Friday and Saturday night games in the national tournament.

The Badgers thus finished the season with a school record for wins in a single season 29-9-2. Coach Bob Johnson finishes his seventh year at Wisconsin with a record of 158-73-6 and the Wisconsin seniors Bentley, Dool, Cherrey, Johnston and Doug Kelso who participated in three NCAA tournaments in their four years finished with 99 wins, 43 losses and four ties in their careers.

14,271 persons witnessed the tournament in Boston to bring Wisconsins home and away 40 game attendance total this season to an all-time collegiate record of 268,917.

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