Midway through the second period, St. Lawrence found themselves tied with the Badgers 2-2. The Saints really had no business being in the game, but junior goalie Arthur Brey was putting the team on his back.
Unfortunately for Brey, his back is what failed him when it counted the most.
Late in the second period, Wisconsin’s Seamus Malone grabbed an errant shot behind the goal line and quickly flinged it back towards the net. As Brey was scrambling to get back into place the puck went straight off of his back and into the goal.
“Most players will try to corral the puck and see their options, but [Malone] saw the goalie was kind of out of position and did what he needed to do,” Ryan Wagner said.
The goal was the eventual game-winner for the No. 5 Badgers (6-2, 1-1 B1G) as they dominated St. Lawrence (0-7, 0-7 ECAC) en route to a 4-2 win.
Wagner put Wisconsin up 1-0 just 58 seconds into the game, scoring on his first shot out of an eventual five in the first period. The goal sparked the Badgers early, and head coach Tony Granato had high praise for the senior forward after the game.
“He’s been great all year. That’s the one kid that hasn’t had a bad shift all year, and it’s all work, it’s all heart, and it was a beautiful goal,” Granato said. “[Wagner] has been our spark plug all year.”
Wagner’s shot was the first of 40 on goal for the Badgers, who tallied 84 shot attempts in total. They were relentless in attacking the St. Lawrence net, and had a presence in front of Brey all game.
Trent Frederic scored the second goal for the Badgers on a deflection in the crease in the second period, and Malone added his later in the period to put the Badgers ahead for good. Tarek Baker would later ice the game late in the third to send the Saints home with a 2-4 loss.
The focus coming into the game was centered solely on graduate-transfer goalie Kyle Hayton. Facing his former team for the first time, Hayton got off to a rocky start when a defensive breakdown allowed Callum Cusinato to beat him 1-on-1.
Rather than allowing it to snowball, Hayton settled in after the early mistake, allowing only one goal over 18 shots during the rest of the game. After the game the standout goalie downplayed the significance of the matchup with his old teammates.
“There’s obviously a little added emotion, I don’t think it could possibly not be,” Hayton said. “But in the end, it’s another game. I prepare just like any other game. I want to win this game just as bad as any other game. So it really didn’t change my routine or change the way I play.”
The Badgers close the series with St. Lawrence at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday night at the Kohl Center.