HOUGHTON, Mich. - Landon Peterson has an admirable sense of perspective seeing how he's a guy who can't seem to catch a break.
Peterson has played well in his first two starts for the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team, but the freshman goaltender has two spirit-crushing overtime losses to show for the effort.
The latest came Friday night at MacInnes Student Ice Arena when Michigan Tech scored 2 minutes, 7 seconds left in the extra period to claim a 2-1 victory in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association season opener before an announced crowd of 2,958.
Peterson, from Oregon, looked at the big picture instead of getting caught up in another disappointing moment.
"I'm pretty happy with my performance," Peterson said after making 36 saves, at least 10 from close quarters. "I'm happy with my team's performance. The end is something we can't control."
Peterson was helpless to prevent right winger Jordan Baker from scoring the decisive goal because he was on his hands and knees behind the cage, tangled up with Badgers junior defenseman John Ramage and Tech left winger Blake Pietila.
Replays showed Pietila skated into Ramage and drove the UW captain into Peterson, who was trying to play the puck behind the net. The cage was empty when center Brett Olson fed Baker alone in the slot for the controversial winner.
It seemed that a penalty was warranted on the sequence, but referees C.J. Beaurline and Pat Britt had a different view.
"If nothing else, interference," UW coach Mike Eaves said after jawing angrily with the two officials before leaving the bench. "Judging by the sheepishness of the two young referees, they had no command of the play."
It was the second straight Friday Peterson played well enough to be rewarded, but was not. He yielded a rebound goal with 4 seconds left in overtime en route to a 3-2 loss to Northern Michigan at the Kohl Center.
"Tough breaks," Peterson said.
"We owe him one or two," UW sophomore right winger Tyler Barnes said of Peterson. "He's played his heart out for us. We have to give him the same."
Barnes accounted for the only goal for the 18th-ranked Badgers, whose 11-game winning streak against Tech came to an end.
It was a big moment for Olson, a senior from Superior who felt the pain of that losing streak a little more acutely than his teammates.
"Elated is a great term," he said. "To have a chance to play against them in our building in my last year and try and make a statement to turn this program around, this is a great start."
First-year coach Mel Pearson, who took over when the respected Jamie Russell resigned after last season, said the streak was a product of days gone by.
"What I told our team is that we can't change the past, but we have something to say about the future and how we play," he said. "We did a good job tonight."
For the third straight game, UW (1-2 overall) started slowly, stared down the barrel of a deficit and fought back to even. This was a different experience, however, because it was the first game on the road and the first on a smaller ice sheet.
There wasn't much Peterson could do about the initial goal by Tech in the second period. Defenseman Riley Sweeney launched a shot from the right circle that center Tanner Kero, stationed near the right hash, re-routed home at 7:41.
UW got it back on the power play at 7:24 of the third period when Barnes took a feed from sophomore center Mark Zengerle, split multiple defenders below the left circle and beat goaltender Josh Robinson (23 saves) with a wrist shot in tight.
Peterson, who will watch fellow freshman Joel Rumpel work the series finale tonight, read the decisive play and was in position to keep the Huskies from securing possession.
"I knew exactly what I was going to do with the puck," he said. "I read the play beforehand and where their guys were, so I played (the puck) on my strong side.
"Right as I turned around, I got slammed into and got knocked to my hands and knees."
Said Ramage: "I went back for the puck and just got hit into the goalie with him never touching the puck."
Olson said the Huskies (3-0) had seen Peterson aggressively play the puck behind the net all night and wanted to disrupt that in overtime.
"One of our guys might have bumped into their guy, who might have bumped into their goalie," Olson said. "It's a bounce.
"We'll take it."
Wisconsin 0 0 1 0 - 1
Michigan Tech 0 1 0 1 - 2
First period: Penalties: J. Johnstone, MT, 18:44; S. Little, W, 18:44.
Second period: MT - Kero 1 (Sweeney, A. Pietila), 7:41. Penalties: S. Little, W, 2:34.
Third period: W - Barnes 2 (Zengerle, Schultz), 7:24 (pp). Penalties: D. Johnstone, MT, 2:40; Riz, MT, 6:17; Springer, W, 11:52.
Overtime: MT - Baker 2 (Olson), 2:53. Penalties: None.
Saves: W - Peterson 9-10-15-1-36; MT - Robinson 6-10-7-0-23.
Power play: W 1 for 2; MT 0 for 2. Att. - 2,958.