When the St. Lawrence hockey team boards the plane to head to Wisconsin for the weekend, Kyle Hayton won’t be with them. He already arrived in Madison.
Two months ago.
After multiple record-breaking seasons at St. Lawrence, All-American netminder Kyle Hayton transferred to Wisconsin last August following the completion of his undergraduate degree. He toured UW over the summer and was immediately set on joining the program.
“I was sold before I really came here, after speaking with Tony [Granato],” Hayton said. “But once I got here I knew I was making the right choice.”
The stability in goal has been a welcome change for the Badgers. Over the last three seasons the program had ranked near the bottom in Division I men’s hockey in multiple goaltending statistics.
Hayton is off to a 4-2 start with a .907 save percentage heading into this weekend’s matchup with his former team. He’s looking to get back on track after allowing a season-high five goals against Northern Michigan last Friday, and head coach Tony Granato thinks this is a perfect opportunity to do just that.
“Anyone that gets to play in front of their old team, or go to your old place where you grew up, whatever it is there’s always some emotions attached to it. He’s been looking forward to this one,” Granato said.
While it may seem like this weekend is shaping up to be Kyle Hayton versus St. Lawrence, Granato insists that this is not the case. After narrowly missing out on the tournament last season the Badgers’ head coach knows how important it is to stay focused during the non-conference schedule.
“It’s not going be a Kyle versus St. Lawrence, it’s the Badgers versus St. Lawrence. He’ll be focused in on doing everything he can this week,” Granato said.
This weekend’s games are the beginning of a stretch that will see Wisconsin play 10 of their next 14 matchups at home. It is a vital part of the season for the Badgers, and they open it against a St. Lawrence team that has gotten off to a sluggish start.
The Saints opened the season on a six-game losing streak while getting outscored 9-26 along the way. They were dismantled by two Big Ten teams earlier this month, losing 1-3 to Michigan and 1-4 to Penn State.
The puck drops in Madison at 7 p.m. CT on Friday night, and 7 p.m. CT on Saturday night.