Freytag scores twice, but Badgers fall 3-2 to North Dakota
Everything seemed to be going the Badgers' way.
North Dakota goaltender Cam Johnson, seemingly healthy in the lead-up to the series, was held out with an undisclosed injury, leaving freshman Peter Thome to face his first start.
Junior forward Matthew Freytag scored two goals in the first period, powering Wisconsin to an early lead.
However, it wasn't enough to lift the No. 7-ranked University of Wisconsin men's hockey team to a win over No. 4 North Dakota, as the Badgers fell 3-2 to their former Western Collegiate Hockey Association rivals Friday at Kohl Center.
"Two really good teams, and every inch of ice out there is a battle," Badgers coach Tony Granato said. "You have to be prepared to play it like a playoff game and I thought that is the way most of the game was tonight."
Freytag got the Badgers on the board first, scoring on an unassuming try from the right circle at 6:59 of the first period.
The Hawks answered less than a minute later to make it 1-1, before Freytag put the Badgers in front again with less than five minutes to play in the first.
Thome settled in after that, holding the Badgers scoreless the rest of the way.
UND Senior Austin Poganski tied things up again at 1:25 of the second period, before junior Nick Jones put the Hawks in front for good on a power play goal at 11:04 of the third period.
"I think [Thome] made a couple of good saves, but as a team we need to take his eyes away and not let him see those pucks come through," Freytag said. "As a team, we know we can do that better tomorrow."
Wisconsin outshot UND 38-32 in the loss, as senior goaltender Kyle Hayton made 29 saves in his ninth appearance since joining the Badgers as a graduate transfer from St. Lawrence.
Thome made 36 saves in his first career start.
North Dakota had a 36-32 edge in the faceoff dot.
The two teams meet again Saturday at 7 p.m.