What's the difference between a team that is on a roll and a team that is struggling?
Simple. The team that's on the roll makes the plays it needs to at critical times in the game.
That little life lesson was on display this weekend in Michigan Tech's series with Wisconsin. The Huskies had a chance to win both games against the eighth-ranked Badgers.
Tech led 2-1 in the second period of the opener and trailed just 2-1 heading to the third in the finale. But both times Wisconsin made the plays it took to win.
The Badgers scored three unanswered goals after the Huskies had taken the lead in game one. Wisconsin then put game two away with a pair of goals in the third period.
Tech's penalty killing units were outstanding all weekend against the Badgers. The Huskies held Wisconsin without a goal in eight shorthanded situations.
Wisconsin had scored 37 goals with the man advantage coming into the series. The Badgers had two goals on the power play in their series with Minnesota State prior to visiting Tech.
"Their power play is No. 2 in the nation and to hold them scoreless on the weekend was big for us," Tech coach Jamie Russell said of his penalty-killing units. "Getting Brett Olson back and his ability to penalty kill really helped and Ryan Furne has taken a huge step in his ability to kill penalties.
"We did a great job on the PK and we have to carry that over to this weekend."
The Huskies' Evan Witt notched his first goal of the season in Friday's opener. Witt, who had seen action in 12 games prior to the get-together with Wisconsin, now has two points on the season.
"Evan was outstanding this weekend," Russell said. "He was rewarded with ice time.
"I had confidence putting him out there. It came from working hard on every shift. He's addressed some of the issues he's had defensively and he'll continue to move up the depth chart as his play continues to improve."
Freshman forward Ryan Furne netted his eighth goal of the year in the finale. Furne, who now has eight goals and eight assists, is tied for second on the team's scoring list with defenseman Steven Seigo.
"He's got such good hockey sense," Russell said of Furne. "I have confidence in putting him out there against anybody in the country.
"He thinks the game so well. He understands when he's got time and space to make a play and when to make an easy decision. For a freshman he's way beyond his years from defensive standpoint."