GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Wisconsin was determined to block out last night’s season-opening loss and focus on splitting its series with Northern Michigan in Green Bay, Wis., on Saturday.
Tied 1-1 heading into the third period, the Badgers (0-2-0) scored 18 seconds in, pulled ahead 2-1 and appeared to be in a good position to do what they set out to do.
Unfortunately, that would be it for UW as the woes of the third period crept back into the Resch Center and the Wildcats (2-0-0) scored two third-period goals and added an empty-netter late to defeat the Badgers and take the series.
Coming out with a sense of purpose and looking like a squad hungry to avenge its season-opening loss from the night before, UW outshot NMU 12-5 and got on the board early.
With Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Ill.) on the point and three Badgers crowding the front of the NMU net, Simonelli fired one toward goal and got the deflection he needed to find the net just three minutes into the first period.
The tone set, the Badgers went on to control the great majority of the rest of the first period.
Had it not been for the great efforts of NMU goalie Jared Coureau -- who recorded 11 saves in the first period alone -- UW may have come out with even more to show for its strong start.
“We’ve got to find a way to throttle it down and keep the momentum down,” assistant coach Bill Butters said. “It could’ve been 4-0 after that first period.”
Wisconsin would wish it had come out with more to show from its early dominance, as the Badgers were outshot by the Wildcats by a combined 26-8 over the final two periods.
The aggressor of the second period and skating with momentum in its favor, NMU outshot Wisconsin 14-6 and came up with the goal that would help equalize.
NMU’s Scott Macauley kept the puck in at the blue line and found Cohen Adair skating through slot, setting up an easy back-handed goal to tie things up 1-1 at the 17:25 mark of the second period.
The game tied, UW was in a similar spot as the night prior, seeking any spark or momentum shift to get back on the offensive and find the net.
The Badgers found the needed goal they were looking for, as just 18 seconds into the third period Mark Zengerle (Rochester, N.Y.) was set up by Joseph LaBate (Eagan, Minn.) and scored to give UW the 2-1 advantage.
The goal, however, wasn’t enough to hold off the second third-period surge from NMU in as many nights.
With 7:42 left in the final period and time winding down on an NMU power play, former Badger Matt Thurber tied things up at 2-2.
Not wasting any time, a minute and 17 seconds later, Kory Kaunisto put it past Landon Peterson (Oregon, Wis.) for the go-ahead goal and at the 18:52 mark of the third period Ryan Daugherty all but ensured the win with an empty netter.
Wisconsin will get its next game and next chance to earn the first win of the season Oct. 26-27 at Minnesota Duluth.