MADISON, Wis. — If there was any sugarcoating what took place Friday night at the Kohl Center, it wasn’t coming from the Boston University locker room.
The second-ranked Terriers got two extra-attacker goals in the final 1:52 by Ahti Oksanen, the second with just 2.2 seconds remaining, to force a 3-3 tie with Wisconsin.
The first 58 minutes of the game? Terriers coach David Quinn didn’t see much he liked.
“We’re not going to win many hockey games like that,” Quinn said. “We got lucky. That’s all there is.”
Oksanen took it a little further: “The whole team was playing pretty terribly,” he said.
Still, the Terriers (11-3-4) overcame the late deficit, a short-handed goal against and a stunning own-goal to avoid a loss to the Badgers (2-11-2).
Oksanen cut Wisconsin’s lead to 3-2 when he fired a shot off the left post and in from between the circles.
And his 10th goal of the season tied it in the dying seconds, even if he had no idea where it hit him or how.
Terriers defenseman Matt Grzelcyk intercepted a clearing attempt by Wisconsin’s Jack Dougherty at the left point and threw the puck at the net. It hit Oksanen and redirected past Badgers goaltender Joel Rumpel.
“The [defenseman] was slashing me so I didn’t even know when the puck hit me,” Oksanen said.
Until then, the Badgers were in line for their second straight victory — both over top-five teams — after a 1-11-1 start.
They even got a gift with 2:41 remaining when the Terriers put the puck in their own net to widen Wisconsin’s lead to 3-1.
BU goaltender Matt O’Connor came out of his net toward the right faceoff circle in an attempt to send the a sliding puck back to the Wisconsin end of the ice. But he lifted the puck up off the upper body of teammate Brien Diffley, who helplessly watched it slide back into the empty net.
“It was kind of exciting — it seemed like the hockey gods were on our side for once there,” said Rumpel, who admitted to some sympathies for his goaltending counterpart. “But it ended up not bearing out that way.”
A physical effort and some clinical finishing helped the Badgers overcome a deficit.
After the Terriers’ Brandon Fortunato scored his first collegiate goal on a power play in the opening period, Wisconsin scored twice in the second.
Defenseman Kevin Schulze beat a backchecking Jack Eichel to the net to tip home a Brad Navin pass on a short-handed rush 41 seconds into the period.
And Jedd Soleway put the Badgers ahead when he snuck a wrist shot just inside the top right corner and off the water bottle from the right circle.
Despite the third-period gift, the lead didn’t hold up like it did last Saturday against Michigan Tech.
“I think our team is disappointed now,” Soleway said. “Especially with these good teams, we know we can beat them now. So I think we can hold ourselves to a higher standard these days. I think we can beat any team so we’re disappointed. There’s no excuses anymore.”
Boston University improved its third-period scoring margin to 34-9.
“I wish we weren’t putting ourselves in the position to have to have a mindset like we have” in the third period, Quinn said.