MADISON, Wisc. - Despite holding a 1-0 lead through the first period and scoring two power play goals, the UMass hockey team fell to No. 15 Wisconsin 4-2 on New Year's Eve in a physical battle at the Kohl Center. Danny Hobbs put UMass up with 2:03 to play in the first frame, but Wisconsin (12-7-3) stormed back to score four straight over the next 40 minutes before Chase Langeraap tallied his second goal of the year with 28 seconds remaining in regulation. The Mass Attack (3-9-3) will kick off 2011 with a two-game set against Northeastern and New Hampshire next weekend at the Mullins Center.
Paul Dainton got the start in goal for the Minutemen, but received a game misconduct along with Wisconsin's Mark Zengerle following a scrum at the conclusion of the first period. Jeff Teglia made 13 saves in relief while Scott Gudmandson made 26 saves in goal for the Badgers. Massachusetts outshot Wisconsin 28-26 for the game, which saw a combined 69 penalty minutes assessed during the contest. The Minutemen were 2-for-9 on the power play, while the Badgers went 0-for-4.
The Minutemen went toe-to-toe with the Badgers throughout the first period, setting the tone physically and taking a 1-0 lead with 2:03 remaining in the frame. Dainton made nine stops to backstop UMass, which killed off three Wisconsin power plays during the stanza. Dainton's biggest save of the period came with the Badgers on the man advantage as he went post-to-post to stone Justin Schultz, who was pinching in from the point to receive a cross-ice pass from the corner.
Massachusetts took a 1-0 lead with just over two minutes to play in the period with the Minutemen on a five-on-three power play. Adam Phillips controlled the puck at the point, and ripped a shot that snapped his stick in half. The puck slid to Branden Gracel, who threw a shot on Gudmandson that bounced back into traffic, where Hobbs buried it for his fourth goal of the season.
The Badgers applied pressure on the UMass net following the goal, collapsing on Dainton and making contact with the Minuteman captain. After the horn sounded to end the period, fisticuffs ensued following a scrum in front of the Massachusetts net, which led to game misconducts for Dainton and Mark Zengerle.
The Badgers began to capitalize on their offensive opportunities during the second period, scoring twice to take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. Teglia, who replaced Dainton at the start of the stanza, made a huge save on Ryan Little eight minutes into the frame when Little had a shorthanded chance, but Teglia aggressively positioned himself atop the crease to make a shoulder save.
Craig Smith knotted the score at one midway through the period when he netted his tenth goal of the year on a shot from the right faceoff dot. Michael Mersch held the puck along the right wall, skated halfway up to the blueline and passed to Smith, who wristed a shot that ricocheted off a UMass defender and past Teglia.
Wisconsin took a 2-1 lead 33 seconds later on Podge Turnbull's eighth goal of the year. Frankie Simonelli began the play with a shot that Teglia thought he had covered, but Mersch jammed the puck across the crease where Turnbull backhanded it in for the score.
The Minutemen appeared to have tied the score with 2:38 to play in the frame when T.J. Syner skated down the right side and threw a backhander on goal. Danny Hobbs, who was crashing the net, was there to knock the puck over the goalline, but the play was reviewed and ruled that Hobbs and made contact with Gudmandson prior to shooting.
The Badgers added an insurance goal just two minutes into the start of the third period when Derek Lee carried the puck around the UMass net and found Jordy Murray stationed in front of the net. Murray tossed a shot towards the cage that redirected off a UMass skate and past Teglia. Wisconsin made it 4-1 with 9:19 to play when Ryan Little scored his fifth goal of the year as Patrick Johnson stole the puck in the corner and found Little for a backhander over Teglia's left shoulder.
Langeraap made it a two-goal game again with 28.3 seconds remaining in regulation when Kevin Czepiel dished to Langeraap in between the hashmarks for a quick one-timer along to ice that beat Gudmandson to close out the scoring.