Weekend Recap: Sweep of Arizona State

Feel free to exhale, Badger fans. The Wisconsin Men’s Hockey team (2-3-3) has finally gotten into the win column, with an emphatic sweep of upstart Arizona State (3-6-0).

Friday night saw the Badgers surrender a goal to ASU’s Jordan Masters just 12 seconds into the second period, and it appeared that the 6,665 in attendance at the Kohl Center were in for another long night. But the Badgers responded with four consecutive goals to finish the period, including two from sophomore Ryan Wagner, and UW never looked back en route to a decisive 5-1 victory.

Saturday night the Badgers jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a Jedd Soleway goal early in the first period. After goalie Matt Jurusik gave up his only goal in a 25 save effort with just under six minutes to play in the second, fellow freshman Seamus Malone regained the lead for the Badgers on his second goal of the year. With the lead in hand, Jurusik took care of the rest for UW, and the Badgers got their first sweep since 2014.

Three Stars of the Weekend

Third Star: Just eight games into the season, freshman Luke Kunin has proven himself to be as good as advertised, if not better. This weekend highlighted his playmaking ability and vision with the puck, as he tallied two assists on Friday night to go along with ten shots on goal for the weekend. Third on the team with six points, Kunin is on pace to be a major leader for this team.

Second Star: Grant Besse should be included in the conversation about the best players in the Big Ten. His eight points this season leads the team, and this weekend was another example of his scoring prowess. A goal and an assist on Friday, and an assist on Saturday gave the Badgers an offensive jolt, and was a major part of this weekend’s big sweep.

First Star: The second half of UW’s electric freshman duo, Seamus Malone, is this weekend’s first star. Two assists and a goal this weekend just added to his already eye-popping numbers on the season (two goals, five assists). A playmaker on the ice who isn’t afraid to be physical, I think Malone has the potential to be one of the nation’s top players, and soon.

This Week: North Dakota

You will be hard pressed to find a Badger fan with something nice to say about the North Dakota hockey program, and I certainly am not that person. However, there is no denying that NoDak is a powerhouse, and this season is no exception. To say that UW will be an underdog this weekend in Grand Forks against unbeaten UND is an understatement, but it will be interesting to see how this team responds to a winning streak.

Image from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Athletic Department.