Michigan Tech took an early lead in both of its games at Wisconsin over this past weekend.
The Huskies scored twice in the first period on Friday and netted a goal in the second on Saturday to grab their early advantages.
But Tech wasn't able to hold on to either lead. A major penalty allowed the Badgers to get back into the series opener and a three-goal third period propelled them to victory in game two.
"Going into the Kohl Center on Friday it was a point of emphasis that we needed a very good first ten minutes of the first period," Tech coach Jamie Russell said. "That's a very tough place to play with a young team, with half our forwards being freshmen and a couple of our defensemen being freshmen, we wanted to make sure that we went out and played with confidence and played with poise."
Ryan Furne and Ricky Doriott had the goals that put Tech in front by two. But just a few minutes after the Badgers had scored to trim the lead to one, the Huskies were assessed a five-minute major that led to a power-play goal that tied the game (2-2) heading to the third.
"We got a great start (Friday)," Russell said. "We scored inside the first three minutes of the hockey game.
"We built on that and got a 2-0 lead. I thought we were playing very well in the second period and then we had the five-minute major for hitting from behind. That was a real turning point in the game."
Wisconsin followed up its power-play tally with three more goals over the final 20 minutes to put the game away. The Badgers' final goal came after Tech had went to the extra attacker to try and tie the score.
"I thought we could have been a little sharper in the third period," Russell said. "Wisconsin got a couple of goals that changed direction on tips.
"We pulled the goalie to try and get even and gave up an empty-net goal."
The empty-netter completed the first of two Wisconsin comebacks on the weekend. The Badgers fell behind again in the finale after Alex MacLeod scored near the midway point of the second to put the Huskies ahead 1-0.
"Saturday we had a good start as well," Russell said. "We got up 1-0 on a power-play goal. I thought we were solid in our approach with what we wanted to do.
"Then Wisconsin got a goal, and playing in a building like that, you've got to control momentum. When you have it you have to thrive on it. When the other team has it you need your older players to step up and calm things down and we weren't able to do that at the end of the second period."
Wisconsin scored three times before the second period ended to go up 3-1 after two. The Badgers closed out the scoring with a short-handed goal in the third.
The goal by MacLeod that gave the Huskies their lead was his fourth of the season. MacLeod, who had a disappointing sophomore season, is tied for fourth on the team's scoring list.
"He had a certain level of frustration last year and I give Alex a lot of credit because he re-dedicated himself this summer," Russell said. "He's in great shape, and probably the polite way to put it is he wasn't last year.
"His weight ballooned on him. He was frustrated with his playing time. He was frustrated with his lack of offensive production. And halfway through a game he was exhausted. He did a great job this summer. He worked his butt off and he's being rewarded for it."
The Huskies are off again this weekend. Tech returns to action with a pair of games at Minnesota Duluth Nov. 12-13.
K.D. Warvie can be reached at kwarvie@ mininggazette.com.