While the football game might be the talk of the town, Michigan’s hockey team (6-4-1) is also in town for a weekend series against the Badgers (8-5-1). With the Wolverines ranked 17th in the USCHO.com poll, and the Badgers coming in ranked 9th, the competition level on the ice should rival what we’ll see at Camp Randall on Saturday morning.
The Badgers opened the scoring just 33 seconds into the first period. Sean Dhooghe carried the puck into the zone to create a scoring chance. The puck redirected out to defenseman Josh Ess at the top of the left circle and he made no mistake. Ess fired low blocker past Michigan goalie Jack LaFontaine to give Wisconsin the early lead.
At 11:17 in the first Max Zimmer would add to the Badger lead. The Sophomore picked up the puck along the left-hand boards and entered the zone with speed. Jason Dhooghe’s hard drive to the net opened up a one-on-one opportunity for Zimmer against the Wolverine defenseman. Zimmer was able to make a move, darting to the middle of the ice on his backhand, somehow squeezing the puck through LaFontaine to double the Badger lead.
Minus a few harmless mistakes, the Wisconsin defense was strong in the first period. Kyle Hayton made 10 saves in the period to boot and the Badgers had a two-goal lead after one.
A Badger penalty carried over into the second period and the Wolverines made them pay. After several failed attempts to clear the zone, Tony Calderone was left wide open in front of the net. Hayton had no chance as Calderone was able to cut the Wisconsin lead in half just 24 seconds into the second frame.
Just as a Michigan penalty had expired, the Badgers were able to regain their two-goal lead. Trent Frederic found a rebound to the right of LaFontaine 3:03 into the period and he was able to squeeze it through the five-hole of the Wolverine netminder. This was Frederic’s sixth goal of the season, and his first since October, 27th against St. Lawrence.
Shortly after the Badger’s goal, Kyle Hayton came up with a sequence of saves you would have to see to believe. Starting with a breakaway from Calderone and followed by seemingly countless rebound opportunities as Hayton sprawled across the crease. This gif does not do Kyle Hayton justice but shows a taste of his ridiculousness.
After an abbreviated 5-on-3 powerplay, Michigan was able to find a streaking Jake Slaker out of the penalty box and sprung him for a breakaway. Slaker beat Hayton but his shot rang off the post. That post shot quickly became a two-goal swing. On the ensuing rush, Frederic found Linus Weissbach in the middle, he was able to slide the puck over to Cameron Hughes on the right dot and Hughes was able to rip his shot past LaFontaine’s glove to give the Badgers a 4-1 lead. That would be the end of LaFontaine’s night as he was pulled in favor of Hayden Lavigne.
The game would quickly get chippy. Hayton was bumped following a glove save and a large scrum ensued in front of the Badger net.
With 5:30 left in the period, Calderone was able to add his second of the game. The Michigan senior found space in the middle of the ice and was able to fire the puck over Hayton’s glove and into the net, reducing the Badger lead to 4-2.
6:29 into the third the Badgers were able to stretch their lead to three once again. Jason Ford sent the puck towards the middle of the ice from just above the goal line. The puck seemingly deflected off a Michigan skate, over Lavigne, and just under the crossbar for the goal.
On a 4-on-4 The Wolverines would seemingly get one back. Freshman Quinn Hughes dangled his way through four different Badger skaters on his way to the front of the net. Hughes’ drive allowed for fellow Freshman Josh Norris to follow the play up with a rebound put-back. After review, it was determined there was incidental contact with Hayton and the goal was waved off.
The replay review ended up meaning little as just seconds after having a goal waved off, defenseman Joseph Cecconi powered a slap-shot from the point over Hayton’s blocker. The Badger lead was cut to 5-3, and there would be no replay review to overturn this one.
Jarod Zirbel would pot home an empty-netter to increase the lead to 6-3. Just seconds later Tarek Baker sniped one over Lavigne’s shoulder to cap the game, and an impressive 7-3 Badger win. Baker was the 7th different Badger to score on the night. Kyle Hayton made 34 saves in a winning effort.
These two teams will face-off again tomorrow night, 7PM at the Kohl Center.