Jan. 30, 2010

DULUTH, Minn.--The second -ranked Wisconsin men's hockey team (15-6-4, 11-5-3 WCHA) topped the first-place Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (16-10-1, 12-6-1 WCHA) Friday night at the DECC. The Badgers saw two goals and an assist by senior forward Aaron Bendickson (Thief River Falls, Minn.) in the crucial victory for UW. The Badgers were relentless on their shots-on-goal production, as they outshot UMD, 52-19, in the game.

The Bulldogs tallied the game's first goal less than two minutes in. Sophomore forward David Grun was able to sneak the puck into the net on a rebound after Badger goaltender Scott Gudmandson (Sherwood Park, Alberta) got shifted out of position. UMD was on top early, 1-0.

However, just over the halfway point of the first, at 10:29, senior forward John Mitchell (Neenah, Wis.) buried his fifth goal of the season on the UW power play. Freshman forward Craig Smith (Madison, Wis.) slid Mitchell a bank pass off the bottom of the net, before the senior capitalized on the chance. Senior tri-captain Ben Street (Coquitlam, British Columbia) tallied the secondary assist. The game was knotted at one, but not for long.

Just twenty seconds later, sophomore defenseman Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka, Minn.) gave the Badgers their first lead of the game. Senior forward Aaron Bendickson (Thief River Falls, Minn.) won a faceoff back to Gardiner, who then Gardiner found the net from just outside the right faceoff circle. The puck soared by UMD goaltender Kenny Reiter, and UW was now on top, 2-1.

But, after some nice passing, Minnesota Duluth knotted things back up just 22 seconds later. After exchanging the puck back-and-forth on a two-on-one, Bulldog senior forward Jordan Fulton snuck the puck past Gudmandson, and the game was tied back up, 2-2.

The teams scored three goals in just 42 seconds.

After a scoreless 9:01 of the second, junior Brendan Smith (Mimico, Ontario) stole the lead back after he cashed in his 10th goal of the season. After senior tri-captain Blake Geoffrion (Brentwood, Tenn.) won a faceoff in the Bulldogs' defensive zone, the puck found Smith. From there, Smith ripped a shot that soared past Reiter's glove side. The Badgers took a 3-2 lead.

That is all the scoring the second period saw. The Badgers outshot UMD 16-8 in the period and 32-14 overall after two. Heading into the final 20 minutes, UW was skating with a 3-2 advantage.

After over eighteen minutes of scoreless third period action, Bendickson sealed the deal for UW on a three-on-two break, scoring into an empty net.

Geoffrion added another goal with 42.6 seconds remaining in the contest. Bendickson assisted the score, as Geoffrion tapped in his 18th goal of the season off of the bar. This solidified the Badger victory, 5-2, over WCHA-leading Minnesota Duluth.

Gudmandson stopped 17 Bulldog attempts, as his record climbed to 8-2-4 on the year. Kenny Reiter's record fell to 8-5-0 after he stopped 47 Badger shots.

The Badgers and Bulldogs will take the ice again tomorrow night as UW attempts to complete the sweep of the Bulldogs. The puck drops at 7 p.m.