Roman Ahcan thought the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team had a go-ahead goal late in the third period Friday, Nov. 20.
So did the people operating the goal horn and red lights inside LaBahn Arena.
The referees couldn't be convinced either in real time or on video replay. Before long, the Badgers fell victim to an overtime score that took some steam out of a good rebound performance.
Freshman Thomas Bordeleau's highlight-reel winner in 3-on-3 overtime gave No. 6 Michigan a 2-1 victory over UW.
Missing their top two centers, the Badgers narrowly missed claiming a series split.
"It's pretty heartbreaking, honestly," goalie Robbie Beydoun said. "... We're disappointed with how this weekend went but we know we're playing pretty good hockey."
It almost was good enough Friday, but that didn't count for much.
On the second of two Badgers power plays late in regulation, Cole Caufield threw the puck on net out of the right corner, and Ahcan was there looking to poke it past goaltender Strauss Mann.
Caufield and Ahcan threw their hands in the air as the puck got underneath Mann's pads, leading the goal lights to start turning and the horn to blow. But the ruling was that the puck never crossed the goal line, a viewpoint that the referees stuck with after review.
"I thought it went in but they called it off," Ahcan said. "That's the adversity we have to deal with and we have to figure out how to win even after that."
The teams traded chances in overtime but the Wolverines (4-0, 2-0-0-1 Big Ten) made the last opportunity pay off.
Bordeleau drove up the left side in the final minute of the 3-on-3 extra session and got the Badgers' Linus Weissbach to go down to the ice with his stick extended.
The Michigan center worked around him to the front of the net while the Wolverines' Eric Ciccolini and UW's Anthony Kehrer were tied up next to the cage. Bordeleau flipped a backhand shot past Beydoun.
Beydoun, who finished with 34 saves, said Ciccolini clipped his left skate while engaged with Kehrer and asked for a review for goaltender interference. Officials counted the goal after consulting the replay.
"I was clearly behind the play because of that," Beydoun said.
In a new format in Big Ten hockey this season, the Badgers (2-2, 2-1-0-1) got one point for being tied after regulation.
Already missing second-line center Dylan Holloway because of Canada's World Junior Championship camp, UW also played without top-line pivot Ty Pelton-Byce a day after he suffered an apparent head injury in a collision with the boards.
With Brock Caufield moved up to the middle of the top line and Dominick Mersch playing a more regular role at center, the Badgers didn't fold against a young star-studded Michigan lineup.
"That's part of hockey, when you do have players out other guys filling the role, so to speak, and battling," UW coach Tony Granato said.
Michigan's potent offense pinned the Badgers in their zone for most of a six-minute stretch of the third period in which the Wolverines generated 15 straight shot attempts.
Beydoun made eight saves in that span.
"We can't really ask much more from Robbie there," Ahcan said. "... We've got to find a way to help him out and get some pucks in the back of the net."
The Badgers struck first on an Ahcan power-play goal less than two minutes into the second period. But Michigan's Nick Granowicz scored later in the period to send the teams to the third period even.
From near the right boards, Tarek Baker threaded a pass past the stick of Michigan's Jack Summers to Ahcan for a tap in at the back post.
UW has scored a power-play goal in all four of its games this season.
On a Michigan rush just after Matty Beniers had a shot hit the left post off a scramble around Beydoun's net, the Badgers goalie made a save on Beniers. But Beydoun looked right for the rebound when it instead bounced to his left for Granowicz to knock home.
"It was a tough bounce on both of the goals against," Beydoun said.
UW's Jack Gorniak prevented what was about to be a first-period goal by Beniers to keep the game scoreless. Jack Becker's redirection of a Kent Johnson shot rebounded off Beydoun and into the open part of the crease, but Gorniak got his stick on it before Beniers could tap it in.
That was the best scoring chance for either team in the opening 20 minutes, which featured three UW shots on a power play.
Michigan 0 1 0 1 — 2
Wisconsin 0 1 0 0 — 1
First period penalty: Power, M, 9:33.
Second period: W — Ahcan 1 (Baker, C. Caufield), 1:51 (pp). M — Granowicz 2 (Beniers, Johnson), 13:59. Penalties: Brisson, M, :41; Baker, W, 6:25; Power, M, 16:23.
Third period penalties: Bordeleau, M, 14:07; Johnson, M, 16:44.
Overtime: M — Bordeleau 2 (Power), 4:33.
Saves: M (Mann 8-6-7-1) 22; W (Beydoun 12-4-14-4) 34. Power plays: M 0-for-2; W 1-for-5.
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