Wisconsin holds off Michigan in outdoor hockey game
MADISON, Wis. - As the night wore on, Michigan maintained its hopes of pulling off a cold-weather upset Saturday night.
But after a brief hold on the momentum in an unique outdoor environment, Wisconsin's Brendan Smith scored a pair of power-play goals less than four minutes apart to propel the No. 3-ranked Badgers to a 3-2 win over the Wolverines in the Camp Randall Hockey Classic.
A crowdÂ of 55,031 frigid fans, which braved a game-time temperature of 21 degrees, was the second largest to ever witness an outdoor collegiate hockey game.
But after Smith snuck his two shots past Michigan goalie Bryan Hogan,Â including the game-winner with only 1:22 remaining, the red-clad Wisconsin faithful warmed up behind a stunned Wolverines bench.
"That's the way hockey goes sometimes," Michigan senior captain Chris Summers said. "Some teams are going to get breaks maybe when they're not expecting them."
Michigan (16-13-1) appeared to gain the momentum after Kevin LynchÂ gave U-M a 2-1 lead at the 11:03 mark of the third period. Lynch took a pass from teammate Carl Hagelin and skated to the top of the circles and fired a shot past Wisconsin goalie Scott Gudmandson that rattled just inside the left post.
The goal was the first since the first period when Wisconsin's Jordy Murray and Michigan's Scooter Vaughan exchanged goals. Between the brisk night air and less-than-ideal ice conditions, the Wolverines and Badgers remained deadlocked until Lynch scored.
With the Wolverines clinging to the narrow lead, Summers was whistled for two straight penalties - first on a trip and then on a slash - that gave the Badgers (16-7-4) a one-man advantage.
Wisconsin drew up the same play on both occasions. Smith's first goal came at the 14:28 mark, tying the game. And after officials again called Summers for a late penalty, the results were the same.
"If it weren't for the penalties in the last five minutes, we'd be sitting here talking about a victory - but that didn't happen," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "We couldn't kill their power play and that was obvious."
Smith was the recipient on both chances, scoring from nearly the same spot to wipe out Michigan's chance of completing the season sweep of the Badgers.
"The first one, I was just really lucky," said Smith, who struck the Heisman pose after his first goal. "I might have hit the guy's shoulder or just touched the guy's shoulder and it went in. The first one was more of a close your eyes and shoot. The second one, I kind of had a little bit of a lane and I think I got a hold of that one more. Just to see the first one go in was awesome."
After Smith gave Wisconsin the lead, Michigan couldn't respond - the Wolverines were again put at a disadvantage with a third straight penalty call.Â
"It's unfortunate calls have to be made at certain points of the game," Summers said. "(The official) obviously saw something I didn't."
Despite the loss, Berenson called playing in an outdoor environment a classic, providing Michigan's players with a memorable experience that will carry over to the Big Chill at the Big House on Dec. 11 at Michigan Stadium.
"Obviously, when you walk into the rink you look up and you see how many people are there and it's like, 'Wow'," Lynch said. "But once you get out on the ice, that all goes away and you put it behind you and it's just a hockey game."
Jeff Arnold covers Michigan hockey for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2554. Follow him at Twitter @jeffreyparnold.