The University of Wisconsin got off to a blazing hot start Saturday night in the Kohl center and never looked back on its way to a 10-1 over the University of Victoria.
Junior forward Matt Ustaski got the Badgers on the board first with a shorthanded flick of the wrist from right in front of Victoria goaltender Scott Legault. This was only the beginning of what would be a long night for Legault and the Vikes as the Badgers netted their next two goals in under two minutes and finished the first period with a 4-0 lead.
Coming back after the first intermission the Badgers didn’t miss a beat, scoring three more times on two beautiful shots from sophomore forward Luke Kunin and a once on a strike from the left circle by fellow sophomore forward Will Johnson.
Holding a 7-0 lead going into the third period of an exhibition game is normally when teams revert to cruise control, but not for a Wisconsin team who only took home three conference wins last season. The Badgers were hungry for more.
UW cranked out three more goals in the third, and allowed the lone Victoria score on a shorthand breakaway by forward Wolfgang Schoenefuhs. Wisconsin’s Kunin finished the game with a hat trick and spoke on his team’s energy throughout the match.
“We’re just hungry to not lose and to be winners, and I think that showed tonight,” Kunin said.
Despite their dominating offensive performance, the Badgers did manage to muster up seven penalties. Head coach Tony Granato recognized that seven penalties were too much, but still managed to focus on the silver lining from Saturday night.
“Having the opportunity to kill that many times in a game is a positive thing as well,” Granato said.
The Badgers’ penalty kill, despite the lack of practice, looked sharp after shutting down all seven of Victoria’s power play opportunities and even claiming a shorthand goal of their own.
Men’s Hockey: Badgers face Victoria in fresh start under Tony GranatoAfter an offseason headlined by coaching changes, the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team finally returns to the Kohl Center Read…
Wisconsin finished the game with 63 shots on goal, which proved a commanding advantage over a mere 10 from the Vikes. Three different Badgers finished the night with three points as well, and 19 of the 23 players who saw the ice finished positive in the plus-minus column.
Freshman goaltender Jack Berry shut down all five shots he faced in his 32-minute stint on the ice and was later replaced by fellow freshman goaltender Johan Blomquist, who had four saves and allowed the Vikes’ single goal.
Wisconsin looks to clean up Saturday’s miscues and maintain its energy as they head to Green Bay for the Badgers’ first regular season matchup this Friday against Northern Michigan University. The Wildcats finished just under .500 last season and should pose a good challenge for this hungry Badger squad. The puck drops in Green Bay at 7 p.m. Friday.