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Wisconsin men's hockey: Badgers earn two points in comeback shootout win over Ohio State

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Freshman Luke Kunin was involved in all four goals with one goal and three assists in the Badgers' come-from-behind, shootout win.

The Badgers score in the final 30 seconds of the first and second periods to overcome two separate two-goal deficits in a 5-4 shootout win.

The Badgers (4-8-5, 1-3-1-0) looked to be heading into the first intermission trailing by the same score they ultimately faced in Friday night's loss, 2-0. However, with 25 seconds left in the first, the Buckeyes (6-11-0, 1-2-0-0) failed to clear their zone as freshmen Luke Kunin held the blue line and passed the puck to sophomore Ryan Wagner crashing the net. The pass deflected off Wagner's skate and slid between junior Christian Frey's legs cutting the deficit to 2-1 OSU.

Then again, at the end of the second period, the Badgers were on their way to carrying another two-goal deficit into the break with OSU leading 4-2. The Buckeyes iced the puck with 17.7 seconds left resulting in an offensive zone faceoff for the Badgers. The Buckeyes opted to use their timeout hoping to ensure a late period goal would not happen again. Instead, the Badgers won the faceoff back to senior defensemen Kevin Schulze and he charge down the boards on his backhand, flung the puck to the slot where Kunin had been waiting. Kunin's one-timer just barely squeaked through Frey for his second of the game and ninth of the season, cutting OSU's lead to 4-3 headed into the third.

With 3:31 gone in the third period junior Grant Besse and Kunin entered the zone on a 2-on-2 looking for the equalizer. Besse's shot was partially blocked and as it approached Frey, Kunin came crashing in forcing the OSU defender to make incidental contact with the puck that would carry it into the net tying the game at 4-4.

Freshmen Will Johnson nearly scored the game winner with just over a minute left in the game at the tail end of a Badger's power play, but Frey made an unbelievable diving stop with is goalie stick sending the game into overtime.

The overtime could not determine a winner and the contest had to be decided in a shootout. Wagner went first and beat frey through the legs on a forehand-backhand deke. That would be all the Badgers needed to complete their 5-4-comeback victory as Freshmen Matt Jurusik went on to stop all three OSU shootout attempts.

Like the Wisconsin Badgers, the Ohio State Buckeyes spent their first half of the season struggling to string together wins while they searched for an identity. However, both these young clubs do not have to look past their impressive wins over top ranked teams for direction.

The Badgers upset No. 1-ranked North Dakota by a score 3-1 back on November 6th. That result marked the third win a row for a struggling Badgers team who looked to have finally found their footing. However, over the next 7 games leading up to winter break, the Badgers went 1-4-2 in series against Denver, Michigan and Michigan State. The lone win came in the finale at Michigan State with Jurusik having his best performance since that UND upset. Although the Badgers failed to compile any wins together between the UND and MSU games you can be sure they have bookmarked those two wins in their efforts to make a second half push.

The Buckeyes, meanwhile, won the Florida College Hockey Classic championship with wins over No.4-ranked BC in the semi-final and No.9-ranked Cornell in the final, just this past weekend. Frey, earned his first career shutout in an 8-0 victory stopping 27 shots in the championship game.

Frey and the rest of Buckeyes did well to build upon their solid weekend in Florida by gaining his second career shutout in as many games with a 2-0 victory in the first of two tilts in Madison on Friday night.

In contrast to Friday night, the referees were busy early in Saturday night's game handing out matching roughing penalties to the two draw-takers, Kunin and freshman Dakota Joshua, before the puck even dropped. The two teams, with just one Big Ten win a piece, perhaps letting some emotions boil over trying to get their conference play underway. Shortly after, Wagner was the recipient of a high hit in the natural zone and the Badgers were awarded a lengthy 5-minute power play that they were unable to convert on.

The first period continued on to be an eventful one for the officials. At 11:15 mark Kunin would make his second trip to the box, this time for slashing. The Buckeyes were unsuccessful on their first try at the power play against the Badgers No. 6-ranked penalty kill.

However, with 9:14 left in the first period the Buckeyes would open the scoring. Sophomore Kevin Miller was the beneficiary of a five-foot feed into the slot and he deked Jurusik cashing in for first of the season.

Late in the period sophomore Tim Davison was called for boarding on an unnecessary check on a Buckeyes fore-checked. The Buckeyes rang one of the post in the ensuing two minutes and shortly after the man-advantage expired they extended their lead to 2-0. Freshmen Freddy Gerard buried a rebound generated off a Jurusik kick save for his first career goal.

UW would cut the OSU lead to one goal before the period's end on Kunin's assist for Wagner's 6th of the season.

Then 49 seconds into the second period there Kunin was again involved in a Badgers tally. He received a shot-pass from the point as he was parked in front of Frey. With his back to the goal he bumped the puck to the crashing Besse who's shot was blocked leaving a wide open net for sophomore Adam Rockwood to tie the game at 2-2.

Soon after the Buckeyes appeared to have taken the lead right back with freshmen Mason Jobst driving the net and scoring. However, the goal was reversed as OSU had entered the zone on an offside rush.

The reversal, however, would end up being rather meaningless. The senior out of Middleston, WI Tyler Lundey's goal less than a minute later would indeed count for his second of the weekend, fourth in as many games extending OSU's lead to 3-2.

The teams would exchange power play opportunities with Joshua, Kunin and senior Eddie Wittchow each making multiple trips to the box. After going 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, the Badgers finally caved with 6:26 left in the second. Junior Nick Schilkey beat Jurusik near post for his team-best 10th goal of the year giving OSU a 4-2 lead.

The Badgers would again cut OSU's lead to one on Kunin's 7th of the season just as the second period finished.

Then, under five minutes into the third, Besse would get his 5th goal of the season evening the score at 4-4.

It would stay even all the way up until the shootout. Following Wagner's conversion, Jurusik stoned Schilkey on his attempt. Then, Kunin was unable to score making him 0-5 in the shootout on the year. OSU's David Gust then went to the backhand and Jurusik had it covered the whole way. That gave Besse a change to win it but he missed wide left. OSU had to score but Jurusik stopped Bodst, giving the Badgers the extra point.