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Wisconsin hockey recap: Badgers tie Minnesota, earn extra point in shootout

Wisconsin looked like it had the upset locked up until Seth Ambroz scored with two seconds remaining to force overtime.

Corbin McGuire buried the game-winner in the shootut to earn an extra point for Wisconsin on Saturday.
Corbin McGuire buried the game-winner in the shootut to earn an extra point for Wisconsin on Saturday.
Larry Radloff Photography

So close, but yet so far away. Wisconsin did so many things right Saturday, but couldn't hold on to a late lead, and eventually had to settle for a tie against rival Minnesota.

It was the second time this season the Badgers (2-16-4, 0-6-2-2 Big Ten) blew a lead in the final seconds. Just over three weeks ago UW gave up a goal with three seconds left against Boston University that cost Wisconsin a huge win. Saturday night was a similar result, as Minnesota (12-9-3, 3-2-3-0 Big Ten) forward Seth Ambroz was able to tie the game with just two seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.

After a scoreless extra session, Wisconsin would go on to win the game in the shootout. The game goes down as a tie in the record books and the Badgers get the extra point in the league standings by winning the shootout.

Despite the fact they didn't finish the job, with just two wins on the season, Badgers' goaltender Joel Rumpel said this is a net victory for his team.

"I'm going to take whatever we can get," Rumpel said. "We battled hard and played a good game. It's obviously a little heartbreaking with two seconds left to give one up like that. Honestly, I'll take it."

At one point it appeared UW would gain the upset win over the Gophers, as UW freshman Cameron Hughes was able to register his first goal as a Badger with just 1:13 remaining in the third period to give Wisconsin a 4-3 lead. But it was Ambroz there in the waning moments to send a dagger through the hearts of Wisconsin fans everywhere.

"We couldn't quite get the puck out," head coach Mike Eaves said of the final goal. "We're learning the hard way."

If you were to type "Badger killer" into Google, I'm guessing it would return a picture of Ambroz. The senior from New Prague, Minnesota has been a thorn in Wisconsin's side for the past four years. He continued that trend this weekend scoring two goals on Friday and adding a pair in the series finale. 11 of Ambroz's career 35 goals in his Minnesota career have come against the Badgers.

"I told him in the second period to stop scoring on me, but it turns out that didn't work out very well," Rumpel said. "He battles hard, he has a big body, he gets in front of me. All I see is his number most of the time. He's a good player."

Corbin McGuire was the hero in the shootout for the Badgers, notching the game-winner in the seventh round. The shootout conversion came not long after an egregious five minute major for kneeing Connor Reilly in the second period.

"He goes from the doghouse to the penthouse," Eaves said.

McGuire was apologetic after the game, saying that he's praying Reilly is not injured after the collision.

"I want to start off by saying that my prayers are with Reilly there -- I hope he's okay and gets back to playing soon if he is injured," McGuire said. "He game across the blue line in the neutral zone and made little juke to the outside. I was just coming across. I didn't move in time and our shins kind of hit, and he got the worst of it.

"Like I said, I hope he's okay, and I'll be thinking about him."

Overall it was nice to see some freshmen step up in big times for Wisconsin. In addition to Cameron Hughes' first goal, Ryan Wagner also found the back of the net for the first time as a Badger. Hughes also added a conversion in the shootout.

"He's been due," Eaves said of Hughes. "Maybe this will be the goal that breaks the dam."

Hughes added that this can be a stepping stone for the freshmen going down the stretch.

"I think a lot of the guys were happy with their game lately," Hughes said. "We'll keep working on it and play our best hockey at the end of the year."

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