For the first time in what feels like a very long time, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team is as close to a winning record as the Badgers have seen in a while. Starting the season with a record of 1-1-0, the Tony Granato era is off to a promising start.
Winning their exhibition game against Victoria on October 1st 10-1, the Badgers went into their series against Northern Michigan with determination to start the season on a good note.
In their first regular season game, the Badgers fell to Northern Michigan in Green Bay 3-2, as Northern Michigan capitalized on the Badgers only 19 seconds into the first period. After tying it up, the Badgers gave up two goals during a 5-on-3 penalty kill later in the first period, and a goal towards the middle of the second period.
Despite this loss, the Badgers redeemed themselves with a 6-5 victory, marking Granato’s first win as the head coach of the Badgers. With 16 penalties, the game was momentum-based and tested the endurance of the both teams’ PK and power play units. Senior Corbin McGuire led the team in scoring with two goals and ended the game with a +2.
Looking forward to this Friday’s game, the Badgers will most definitely be seeking to avenge their loss against Boston College (BC) from last season and learn from their mistakes against Northern Michigan.
The Badgers fell to BC 6-0 when they last met in October of 2015. The first goal of the game came only 12 seconds into the first period against the then-senior goaltender Adam Miller. After four failed power-play opportunities, the Badgers were shut out, and down in shots 20-27.
Meeting nearly an entire year later, the Badgers will need to focus on having a strong defense from the draw, in addition to avoiding the unnecessary penalties costing them goals while on the PK.
Player to watch: Will Johnson
Sophomore Will Johnson (#17, F) has scored a goal in each game against Northern Michigan, but ended the series with a -2.
Last season, as a freshman, Johnson appeared in 35 games, scoring 8 goals and providing 3 assists, ending the season with a +/- of -6.
Photo courtesy of UW Athletics.