After starting the season playing three out of six games against top-20 ranked opponents, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team could barely have asked for a better start. The team followed up their tremendous early-season home stand by sweeping their East Coast swing, where they faced the #18 St. Lawrence Saints (3-4-0) and the Clarkson Golden Knights (3-4-1).
Considering their two huge wins against ranked opponents #6 Boston College (10/14) and now #18 St. Lawrence (10/28), it would not be far-fetched to say that the team should be getting more national attention. The Badgers remain outside of the top-20 with five out of their ten non-conference matchups remaining before they kick off Big 10 Conference competition.
Currently, the Badgers are showing incredible potential as a young, hungry team filled with next-level talent. If they can keep up this early season momentum while still staying under the radar, look for them to shake things up in Detroit during the Big 10 Championships at the very least.
Wisconsin vs #18 St. Lawrence (W, 5-2)
The Badgers were once again forced to come from behind after the Saints scored late in the first period (17:50). This late goal did not discourage the young team, however, as the Badgers went on to score five out of the next six goals scored overall.
Special teams once again played a huge part as the NCAA continues its mission of extremely strict officiating. The Badgers went just 1-for-6 on the power play, while holding St. Lawrence fruitless on 6-of-7 shorthanded scenarios.
Heading into the third period, the Badgers were looking for a leader. They got one in the form of freshman Trent Frederic. He tallied a short-handed goal just three minutes into the frame, and the Badgers never looked back. Ryan Wagner added another tally eight minutes later, and Luke Kunin iced the game with a short-handed goal with 13 seconds to play. This third period push helped the Badgers to a convincing 5-2 win against an extremely talented St. Lawrence team.
The victory could not have been achieved had it not been for the solid net minding of sophomore goaltender Matt Jurusik. He continued what has been a stellar start of the year, going 18-for-20 against a buzzing St. Lawrence offensive attack.
3rd Star: Matt Jurusik (18 saves on 20 shots)
2nd Star: Luke Kunin (2G, 0A, +1)
1st Star: Ryan Wagner (1G, 1A, +2)
Wisconsin vs. Clarkson (W, 5-4)
Saturday night was another high scoring game for the Wisconsin men’s hockey team, their second five goal performance in as many nights. Seamus Malone netted his third goal of the year nearly nine minutes into the game assisted by Tim Davison and Ryan Wagner. Luke Kunin then added to the early Badger lead, scoring 39 seconds later from Grant Besse and Jake Linhart to put the team up 2-0. From that point on it was a game of catchup for the Clarkson Golden Knights.
The Knights scored late in the first on a power play goal by James de Haas, and again 44 seconds in to the second period on a goal by Jordan Boucher; However, the Badgers would answer the bell with a strong push following that goal. In the next five minutes minutes of play, Cullen Hurley and Corbin McGuire both found the back of the net to reclaim the previously held two goal lead. Boucher netted two more goals in the game to complete the hat trick, but Grant Besse’s early third period goal proved to be the game winner. The Badgers finished the game with a 5-4 win, an exciting way to close out the weekend.
Despite the win and the potent offense, there were some areas of concern for the Badgers. Special teams looked vulnerable, giving up two goals while being shorthanded nine times. The Badgers also only managed to get two shots to the net on five power play chances, scoring no goals with the man advantage. Goalie Matt Jurusik allowed four goals on 28 shots, one night after only allowing two on 20.
The Badgers’ five on five play looks vastly improved as they come home to prepare for a difficult series against Northern Michigan with whom they split the first season series in Green Bay just three weeks ago.
3rd Star: Luke Kunin (1G, 2A)
2nd Star: Grant Besse (1G, 2A)
1st Star: Jordan Boucher (3G, 1A)